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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 1st Nov 2016, 10:29 pm   #81
IanBland
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Default Re: Old torches - anyone here collect them?

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Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
How we were easily entertained!
Indeed. We had (i.e. my dad had) one of the rubber torches already discussed with the on and off buttons as part of the rubber moulding, and I remember being quite fascinated by the "dink" noise it made switching it on and off. I seem to remember being told to "stop doing that, you'll break it".

Remembering dim old torches (and the appropriate HP and SP Ever Ready batteries) in this age of blinding LEDs is one of the things that makes me feel old.
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Old 1st Nov 2016, 11:10 pm   #82
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Default Re: Old torches - anyone here collect them?

I don't specifically collect torches, but do have some old ones that are still in use.

The Vidoray lives in our kitchen. Its Zinc Carbon battery is dated 10/2010, but still produces a good light, in a broad diffused beam free of hot spots. Some time ago I posted photos showing how the plastic casing of a dead Duracell flat battery could accommodate a 3- or 4- cell AA battery holder. I was intending to do this when this torch's battery ran out, but it still soldiers on! Its Panasonic battery seems to be of similar construction, and so would contain any leakage.

The Black Ever-Ready rubber torch dates from circa 1980, and lives in the larder. It still works, but the rubber has split at the front, and is badly perished at the On and Off buttons. It was my official First Aider's torch when I was working for the Civil Service in Central London. You may recall the "Yes Minister" episode where Jim Hacker had an economy drive and, having asked Humphrey why they did not rent out unused government offices to the private sector, got the reply that, as they did not comply with building regulations, only Civil Servants could legally occupy them. Absolutely spot-on, these torches were the only emergency lighting (other than candles!) our 15 story office block had, and we were only issued with them in response to the contemporary terrorist threat in case we had to deal with casualties in the basement levels.

The Ever-Ready Bullseye torch was probably from the last production. I bought it in Woolworths at the time that the new plastic ones were introduced, and was not impressed by them. I used to go camping at the time. and found it useful to flip up the lens and use just the bare bulb for seeing where I was going when using unlit paths at night: much better than a bright narrow beam for short range use, and didn't spoil your night vision.

The last one is of course the traditional battery tester, inherited from my dad, and probably pre-war. I still use it to check out cells.

I echo the comments about excessive brightness of LEDs. When the children were babies, I specifically used run-down batteries in torches to give a dim light so as not to disturb them when checking at night, and do the same today when we go on holiday so as not to disturb my wife if I have to get up in the night.
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Old 2nd Nov 2016, 12:34 am   #83
Lloyd 1985
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Your Ever ready bulls eye torch looks in much better nick than mine! Is it a paint finish, or some kind of covering material? Mine is just covered in rust, so don't know what it would have had originally, I was going to cover it in some dark green leatherette material to make it look presentable again!

I went out to Horncastle today and whilst wandering round one of the antique shops there were 3 of the Bardic British Rail lamps for sale, I was tempted, but didn't have any cash on me. I also saw a little Pifco lamp, looked like a baked bean can with an adjustable head on the side, a thin wire handle, and a red or orange light on top. Wish I'd bought it now! It gave me an idea of what to make out of a bean can next...

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Old 2nd Nov 2016, 1:14 am   #84
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Just finished my Ever Ready restoration - and had my first ever go at French polishing. This was in very poor condition - it had some sort of lacquer splattered all over it and hard old putty too - probably used in the shed at some point. I nearly never bothered but it was very nice under the mess - and I have it running now. It has a punched reflector which spreads the beam very nicely and with a Gibraltar lamp, casts a soft glow. The switch was completely messed up but I got that fixed ok too. Probably about 1920. to say that it is completely different from modern LED lights is an understatement - yet both have their place.
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Old 2nd Nov 2016, 1:23 am   #85
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It's not fabric, just a fabric-like pattern, printed directly on the tinplate casing that is similar to the Formica on the kitchen table we used to have. There is some rust from a leaked battery, but it wasn't sufficiently advanced to break through, although it has bubbled slightly in places. From memory, the earlier one I have seen were plain colour, and I think it was only the later batches that had this patterned finish. I just noticed it still has a label inside bearing my name and the address I lived at until 1967, so it can't be later than that.

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Old 3rd Nov 2016, 10:50 pm   #86
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When I was much younger, I had all kinds of torches, many of them were from PIFCO. One of my favorites was the bulls eye torch, and I had several similar types of pocket torches, not to mention penlight torches.

Another was a tricolour torch, it had 3 coloured sleeves that you could slide over the bulb by means of some buttons on the outside of the body, gave red, green, and blue.

Also had a battery reading light that attached to the headboard of the bed for reading at night, while listening to radio Luxembourg, if my parents were asleep.

Unfortunately that only ones I have left is a couple of ever ready rubber torches, a penlight torch, and some bicycle front lights, I do not remember what happened to all the others. Shame!
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Old 4th Nov 2016, 8:12 am   #87
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: Old torches - anyone here collect them?

Quote:
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Just finished my Ever Ready restoration - and had my first ever go at French polishing. I nearly never bothered but it was very nice under the mess - and I have it running now.
I'm glad you did - that's beautiful! A nice Success Story. Well done!
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Old 4th Nov 2016, 11:51 am   #88
Lloyd 1985
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You have done a lovely job on the little wooden Ever ready torch!

Talking of those, I'm off to Grantham in a bit, and I saw one in the antiques centre there last time, it might follow me home, if it's not too expensive!

Regards,
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Old 4th Nov 2016, 12:46 pm   #89
IanNVJ35
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Thanks Phil and Lloyd - yes, I am pleased with it. I like it how putting care into these old items really pays off - they seem to respond.

Keep me posted on the Grantham Ever Ready!
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Old 5th Nov 2016, 12:40 am   #90
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Keep me posted on the Grantham Ever Ready!
Went along earlier, it was still there! It's a bit different, not just a bare wood case, it's covered in some sort of leatherette material in dark green (just like what I was planning for my little rusty Ever ready!) The tag attached said it was called 'Niagra', and then I read the price... At £39 it unfortunately didn't get to follow me home Looked in nice condition though, and had it been half that price it'd be here. It was also missing it's bulb. It has a lovely big 'bulls eye' lens on the front, I really like it, but I can't justify spending that much on it right now, unless someone comes along and says 'that's super rare, you'll never see another at that price', if they do, I'll be on my way back to fetch it!!

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Old 5th Nov 2016, 11:03 am   #91
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I wonder if that was an army lamp, Lloyd. WWI trench radios and other gear were covered with green painted canvas - originally mad in polished mahogany, but this was too visible!
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Old 5th Nov 2016, 5:03 pm   #92
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Went along earlier, it was still there! It's a bit different, not just a bare wood case, it's covered in some sort of leatherette material in dark green (just like what I was planning for my little rusty Ever ready!) The tag attached said it was called 'Niagra', and then I read the price... At £39 it unfortunately didn't get to follow me home. Looked in nice condition though, and had it been half that price it'd be here. It was also missing it's bulb. It has a lovely big 'bulls eye' lens on the front, I really like it, but I can't justify spending that much on it right now, unless someone comes along and says 'that's super rare, you'll never see another at that price', if they do, I'll be on my way back to fetch it!
If you go back to that shop, please do see if you can get a photo of that lamp. I have not heard of that make before so am most intrigued. Honestly, if it is WW1 era then £40 is about right. Maybe make an offer?
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Old 5th Nov 2016, 6:39 pm   #93
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In the early-to-mid-1970s I had a "pressed tin" type torch/lantern with a big square battery-box that as well as the main white beam from the front also had a smaller amber *flashing* lamp on the rear - this normally laid horizontally but if you folded it up it automatically turned on.

Does anyone remember this kind of device?

It was intended for car use - you'd use the main white light to let you see when you were changing a wheel at night and the flashing amber beacon would warn other drivers. I don't remember who made it - Pifco? Alas it was lost (along with a Pye Cambridge AM10) when my car was stolen.
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Old 5th Nov 2016, 11:48 pm   #94
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Default Re: Old torches - anyone here collect them?

Quote:
In the early-to-mid-1970s I had a "pressed tin" type torch/lantern with a big square battery-box that as well as the main white beam from the front also had a smaller amber *flashing* lamp on the rear - this normally laid horizontally but if you folded it up it automatically turned on.

Does anyone remember this kind of device?
I remember them. Did the head have a red plastic bezel? Was the battery a tin cased one secured to the lamp by a couple of insulated screw-terminals?

I'm sure Ever Ready did an earlier version of their large plastic handlamp with a similar battery attached.
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Old 6th Nov 2016, 1:57 am   #95
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I remember seeing them too, but never had one myself. I had an upright cylindrical Pifco torch (I think it was an early 1960's seaside bingo prize) that took a lantern battery and had both a swivelable focussed reflector at the front, and a light on the top that could take either a white dome or a red dome. It came with a plain bulb for use with the white dome and a flashing bulb for the red dome. Long since gone after the switch failed. It was the first time I came across bulbs with the screwless prefocussed lamp base (for the front reflector). The top light accepted conventional MES screw base bulbs.

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Old 7th Nov 2016, 1:10 am   #96
IanNVJ35
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I think the first prefocus bulbs installed in a torch in the UK were used in the Ever Ready 'Spotlight' range in the late 50's / very early 60's - the ones with the rock 'n roll look and red band around the head. The beam cast a very tight spot - not really useful in the grand scheme of things. Here is a very early prefocus lamp - note the unusual filament shape, rounded glass and 'old fashioned' look. This came from an Ever Ready.
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Old 7th Nov 2016, 9:53 am   #97
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Default Re: Old torches - anyone here collect them?

Talking of special bulbs, the motoring torches with flashing red beacons and a spring-terminal lantern battery usually took a tubular MES lamp with an integral bimetallic strip to provide the flashing action. I can still remember that the initial "on" period was slightly longer than subsequent ones, as the thing came up to operating temperature.

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Old 7th Nov 2016, 10:32 am   #98
Phil G4SPZ
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...the initial "on" period was slightly longer than subsequent ones...
I also remember those. If you listened very carefully, you could actually hear the faint 'ping' as the bimetal made and broke the connection.

I think I have some of these somewhere, in a packet confusingly labelled 'flashlight bulbs'...
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Old 7th Nov 2016, 12:15 pm   #99
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These bi-metallic flasher bulbs were also available for Christmas lights (where you only needed one to flash the whole string), and for Lucas Trafficators, as a simple update to flashing indicators.
By the time the bulb had started flashing, you'd completed the turn, and cancelled the signal.
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 10:30 pm   #100
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I'm particularly fond of the earlier (pimply rubber & large buttons) 3 cell Ever Ready rubber torches and have a fairly early one (with metal reflector) and a later version which has a moulded plastic lens and reflector assembly which looks a bit like a round CRT. These were superceded (early 1970s, I think) by the smooth rubber case with smaller buttons. I remember the early version was available in a brick red rubber - haven't seen one for years.
The small torches sold cheaply by "woolies" in my childhood which take No.8s also have a sentimental attraction.

For those who don't know, both the 1289 4.5v batteries are still available now called MN1203 or 3R12.
The No.8, though not common in the UK is still popular on the continent as:
2R10, GP210s, 'DUPLEX', pile BIJOU, and I think Siemens T8
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