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Old 7th Nov 2016, 12:15 pm   #101
Brigham
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Default Re: Old torches - anyone here collect them?

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   #102
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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 These were superceded (early 1970s, I think) by the smooth rubber case with smaller buttons.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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Old 11th Nov 2016, 12:25 am   #103
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Default Re: Old torches - anyone here collect them?

I certainly remember the No 8 battery being marketed in the UK by Ever Ready bearing the 'Bijou' name. I guess the individual cells were something like modern 'sub-C' cells in size.

On a broader note, does anyone share my recollection that torch batteries in the late 1950s and 1960s were expensive, worked OK for a short while when brand new, but thereafter deteriorated quickly to a 'brown-out' and were prone to leak?
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 2:22 am   #104
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I got through dozens of blue Ever Ready U2's throughout the 1960's for my EL3585 tape recorder, and never had any leak. Prices were stable then, and a set of 6 cost 4/-. When the leakproof ones with predominantly white cases (SP2?) came out ( I think they may have been marked "sealed" rather than "leakproof") , they cost 5/-. I only got sets of them when I couldn't get the blue ones. They did leak! Both types lasted for about the 20 hours specified in the Philips instruction booklet when used for about an hour a day. As the recorder drew about 100mA, this works out at about 2Ah capacity. I usually had three sets on the go that I rotated to allow them to recover. I did try a set of the high power ones when they came out (HP2, orange case), but the recorder's speed regulator couldn't cope and ran too fast, whether because they produced a higher voltage or else their internal resistance was too low, so I never tried another set and can't comment on the effectiveness of their leakproofing. For comparison, in 1968 a packet of 20 Embassy cigarettes cost 4/6d and a gallon of petrol cost about the same.

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Old 11th Nov 2016, 10:14 am   #105
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I'm sure I can remember cylindrical batteries such as U2's being supplied in a continuous cardboard tube. The shop keeper would slice off the number you required.
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 11:18 am   #106
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Those tubes were what you were supposed to use in the Ever Ready metal torches in the 20's and 30's - using loose cells makes for a really bad rattle and flickering. In my three cell light I use a solid one piece holder that takes 12AA batteries (two stacks of 6 in parallel, 4 across) with a charge socket in the base and so I run 6 Volt lamps. Using Eneloop rechargeable cells gives about 8 hours of white light.

Just finished restoring a 'bullseye' lamp - all contacts were so open circuit that it would have passed a 3kV flash test! All fixed and down to under 0.2 Ohms, new 3.5V, 0.3 A bulb and 8AA battery holder fitted, along with regulator. Run time of undimming light is 30 Hours! The regulator will run the 8AA's down to almost complete exhaustion without yellowing.

It is light oak, but looks darker in the photo.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kuyq9xpco1...33931.jpg?dl=0

and the beam

https://www.dropbox.com/s/c03oefusan...33823.jpg?dl=0
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 11:20 am   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
When the leakproof ones with predominantly white cases (SP2?) came out ( I think they may have been marked "sealed" rather than "leakproof") , they cost 5/-. I only got sets of them when I couldn't get the blue ones. They did leak!
When the zinc pot, cardboard covered range was being retired the predominently white ones were originally (and briefly) labelled LP2, LP11 etc. The LP being, supposedly 'leakproof' which, as said, they weren't. There appeared to be a hasty re-labelling to SP2 etc (which I understood from the 'rep' to be 'special') to get them out of any potential difficulties with, what was then in it's infancy, customers' rights/trade descriptions.
Ray-O-Vac had 'U2's with a green tamper strip over the positive and boasted and seemed, largely to achieve, leakproof status and backed it with an offer to replace anything in which their cells had burst and caused damage.
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 12:58 pm   #108
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Well this one hasn't leaked and even has some life left in it. (Not much though - voltage drops to 1.2V with a 1k load)
It was recently removed from an old multi-meter and had been soldered in position.
Would this battery date from some time in the 60's ?
Regarding old torches, I had a Pifco one (haven't seen it for a while...) with a chromed metal case with red and green coloured filters that could be slid in front of the bulb.

Andy
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 9:32 pm   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanNVJ35 View Post
If you go back to that shop... Maybe make an offer?
Well, I have been back, and it seems to have followed me home this time! It's slightly different to the Ever ready ones I've seen so far, the switch is the other way round for a start, and the back slides off downwards. There isn't any makers name on it at all, the price tag said 'Niagara searchlight' (they take the tags off in the shop..), I have found nothing on it online, although there was a company called Niagara that made torches. All the Ever ready ones I've seen are in plain polished wood, not covered in this green leather type stuff.

It's in nice used condition, the bullseye lens is scratched quite badly, but the case is good. Someone has done some odd re-arrangement of the battery terminals in the past, I couldn't make any sense of them, so I moved them to the same positions as in IanNVJ35's photo's. One bit of brass is missing, so I'll make a new bit up. Getting to the bulb holder was fun! I thought that the lens would unscrew from the front, and leave the reflector and bulb holder exposed; oh no it doesn't! You have to remove the 5 screws around the bezel, and the whole thing comes off. The reflector has some dimples in it, and unfortunately some corrosion too, I might try polishing it a bit, but I don't want to damage it further. There is a odd threaded piece that screws on round the lens, not sure what it's for? Maybe it was a coloured filter at some point, and the glass has dropped out or gotten broken.

I've fitted a 3.5V bulb, and a 4.5V battery, there was enough room for my croc clip leads! The lamp works nicely, with a bit of flicker from dodgy switch contacts, and it casts a lovely big circle of light with funky patterns round the edge, presumably from the dimples in the reflector. There is a date on the switch of 1914, it may have been made after that date, but it holds the record of the oldest torch in the house!

All in all a nice little torch, even if it was a bit expensive...

Regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 9:35 pm   #110
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More pictures....
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 9:36 pm   #111
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And the last 3

Just a thought, would anyone happen to know what bulb was fitted originally and what battery? Anyone got an original battery so I can copy it?

Regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 10:54 am   #112
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Well done Lloyd for rescuing the light. And what a lovely light it is! Its most certainly an Ever Ready at heart, but the covering and glass orb are not - and were fitted by the company that sold them. I wonder if they bought in part assembled lights or just the parts? Don't suppose we will ever know. I have details on the original bulbs and batteries - I will add when I have dug them out.
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 6:01 pm   #113
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Here's a scan of all the Osram battery bulbs that are listed in the almost-contemporaneous GEC catalogue for 1911. Most are supplied in 2V voltage increments for use with accumulators, and there is only one page of non-2V-step bulbs intended for use with dry batteries. The master index lists batteries and hand lamps, but they are in parts of the catalogue that I do not have. You would need to consult the comprehensive collection of old GEC catalogues that are held in the Bodlian Library at Oxford as part of the Marconi collection.

Re #109, I would think that it would be earlier than 1965, as my recollection (not 100% these days) was that the only white batteries I had featured the present Ever Ready logo that has smooth curves at top and bottom. Yours has the older wavy curve design. That is consistent with the observations made in #108 on the change of labelling, and would make it around 50 years old. Not bad!
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 6:53 pm   #114
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Over 100 years old (one bit anyway!) and still going, super job.
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 7:46 pm   #115
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Quote:
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Just a thought, would anyone happen to know what bulb was fitted originally and what battery? Anyone got an original battery so I can copy it?
Right, first photo is of the bulb that would have been fitted. It is 3.5V, 0.3A with U filament. This means that the central beam spot given is much larger, more spread out - and with an illuminated U as part of the beam. The 2.5V, 0.3A S filament bulbs also work well, with 3 Volt supply. What bulb have you fitted? To get close to intended as possible you need a bulb with as low set and long filament as possible.

Second photo is of the Ever Ready version of your light - same handle and catch on the back, but mine has a watch glass type front lens. I fitted a bulb of my own making - Xenon Mag bulb, potted into a MES holder - it did not like modern bulbs at all.

Third is the Ever Ready design 'Bullsi' (correct spelling) - you can see the glass is much thicker - and another photo shows all the bubbles that glow.

Well done on getting yours working, and the flickering switch can be cured by cleaning all contacts with a glass fibre pen - check the underside cointacts too - these are usually high impedance due to corrosion. The whole circuit should be 0.2-0.3 Ohms, any more and you have a weak spot. Solder can be used if needed.

This is the battery the lamp would take (not my photo) http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e2...mage176a-1.jpg

I use a buck circuit in all my lamps - stops any flicker and makes the bulbs last a long time.
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Old 12th Nov 2016, 8:53 pm   #116
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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.
Yes - that's exactly what I remember. The bimetal strip was heated by the bulb filament - a rather neat way of getting the flashing-action without needing to waste any power in a separate 'heater' winding for the bimetal.
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Old 13th Nov 2016, 1:04 am   #117
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Hi Ian,

The bulb you show looks interesting, The ones I bought (the box is shown in one of my pictures) are 3.5V 0.3A with a straight length of coiled filament. Probably not ideal, as the filament sits quite high up inside the bulb, maybe I'll have a look at some of the xenon bulbs you mention, and fit them to bases of dead bulbs! I've just created one such bulb that can donate it's base, turned out the glass was as thin as paper, and trying to unscrew it from my rusty Ever ready resulted in a pop, and 3 shards of glass embedded into my finger! Not pleasant...

I'm getting quite a liking for these old lights, they really do look nice, and as Merlin Maxwell said 100 years on and still going - and without (much) modification, built to last would be an understatement!

To bring it into the modern age I might see about making up a replica battery using a couple of rechargeable Lithium bombs, and some regulator circuitry. I'll draw the line at fitting some sort of LED replacement bulb.

Regards,
Lloyd.
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Old 13th Nov 2016, 10:28 am   #118
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It's good that you are enjoying tinkering with these lovely bits of old technology. That they can be made to work better than new is a real plus - I just know that the original designers would be well pleased to see what we are doing. If you look on eBay there are some small adjustable regulators which work well. I set them up with switched negative - so the regulator comes into circuit AND the bulb lights at the same time. I used cable blocks with a small slot cut in so I can clamp to internal parts without solder. Keep us posted!
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Old 13th Nov 2016, 11:10 am   #119
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A large proportion of the torch bulbs in the 1911 catalogue are of the "Flat with opal glass reflector" type, where the filament was clearly much lower down than in the types presently available. I remember as a child in the mid-1950's being given what must have been a pre-war torch that had such a bulb, but the bulb was blown and I remember that I couldn't get an exact replacement. I guess there can't be too many original bulbs around now. I remember my school physics master mentioning that torch bulbs were over-run to give a bright light at the expense of lifetime, and a book on the US lamp industry mentions that, for a period in the 1930's, the American GE redesigned their torch bulbs to only last for two sets of batteries.

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Old 13th Nov 2016, 3:34 pm   #120
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Here are a few from my collection. First is one of those from the 1911 catalogue - you can see the glass is white at the back - to be used with torches with bullseye but no reflector. It is overdriven at 3.5 Volts - real rating is more like 3.
Second is a smaller diameter version.
Third is an Ever Ready type.
Fourth is a 1930's Ever Ready - now with coiled filament but still set low into the bulb as per the old range. When buying old torches, these are more common and work well, just losing a bit of character compared to the very old bulbs.
Last is something I knocked up - a Lilliput to MES holder that works well with older torches - because the filament is low down.
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