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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 13th Mar 2020, 2:14 pm   #1
boombox
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Default Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's study

Anyone remember these? I've Googled and Googled for a picture of one over the past couple of days but can't find anything. Our headmaster had one outside his door and he could change the state of the lamps from within through use of a little toggle switch I imagine or maybe it was three interlocked buttons.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 2:29 pm   #2
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

Made by Bulgin, I believe. They were pictured in 1960s Home Radio catalogues.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 2:32 pm   #3
Electronpusher0
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

In the early Bond films M had red and green lamps outside his office.

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Old 13th Mar 2020, 2:59 pm   #4
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

I took a photo of these in a Sheffield antiques shop in June 2019. I am going into town tomorrow. If they are still there (!) do you want them ?
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 5:42 pm   #5
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

I remember then from school too, about 40 years ago.

I also remember that as well as the lampholders shown earlier in this thread, Home Radio sold a set consisting of the panel with the 3 lamps ('Engaged' 'Wait' 'Enter'), a switch box, I think an electric bell (of the 'underdome' type?) and a suitable bell transformer. Possbly again a Bulgin product.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 5:44 pm   #6
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

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Anyone remember these? I've Googled and Googled for a picture of one over the past couple of days but can't find anything. Our headmaster had one outside his door and he could change the state of the lamps from within through use of a little toggle switch I imagine or maybe it was three interlocked buttons.

Yes, but it wasn't at my secondary school as one might have thought, it was at primary school, Mr R*** certainly had illusions of his own self importance.

I think the lights said "knock & wait" and "enter".

It certainly added to the experience of being sent to the HM study.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 6:26 pm   #7
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

We have one at work, harking back from the 80's when the building was erected, I would take a picture on Monday but I am on a one week on one week off schedule 'cos of "the virus" (full pay!! What project next?). So next Monday I will do so, if I remember.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 7:31 pm   #8
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

The style that I remember, was very small and circular, I think that it fitted a standard circular conduit box.
Connected via multi core phone cable, and illuminated with festoon lamps, one lamp for each of the 3 indications, wait, enter, and engaged.

IIRC the lamps were the then uncommon types that resembles a fuse in dimensions.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 7:55 pm   #9
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

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Originally Posted by donutty View Post
I took a photo of these in a Sheffield antiques shop in June 2019. I am going into town tomorrow. If they are still there (!) do you want them ?
What a great bit of history from Gents of Leicester, glad I don’t live near, as it would be coming home with me as I collect Gent clocks!
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 8:14 pm   #10
duncanlowe
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

Yes our Headmasters office had them though I don't think they were used. The School was built in the thirties and opening postponed by the outbreak of war. I was there in the seventies and I think the Head was new so maybe the previous head had used them.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 8:17 pm   #11
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

Our head of department had them at college, the building was put up in the 1960's. They were made of a sort of greyish beige plastic and had a little buzzer to bring your attention to them
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 9:10 pm   #12
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

Did Reggie Perrin's boss, CJ, have some?
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 10:39 pm   #13
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

My school had one in the 1980s - not sure if it was a commercial product or knocked up by a sixth-former in Veroboxes. It certainly wasn't old.

I must confess that I then made one for my bedroom and made my parents ring and wait for entry

Every teenage boy needs a "do not disturb" light outside his bedroom door.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 10:52 pm   #14
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

My Dad had one on his office. The control unit was 3 buttons which pressed to illuminate the required button which latched. Each button had a solenoid in it to be released or could be manually released by twisting the button. Each switch had two additional contacts to power the solenoids of the other buttons to release them. Each button was transparent being red/yellow/green for engaged/wait/enter.

I repurposed the control unit for a model railway system - pressing each button powered on one train circuit. The solonoids were all connected in parallel and powered by push buttons for an emergency stop - i.e. would release all buttons.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 10:36 am   #15
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robsradio View Post
What a great bit of history from Gents of Leicester, glad I don’t live near, as it would be coming home with me as I collect Gent clocks!
Since 1976 my doorbell has been powered by a Gents transformer ex my parent's home.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 10:37 am   #16
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

I wonder what the modern-day, politically-correct equivalent text would be;

Busy:

"Thank you for using this call indicator system. Your visit is important to me; unfortunately, all of my attention is focussed on other educational matters right now but as soon as a timeslot becomes available, I'll get back to you"

Wait:

"Thank you for your patience; your visit request is moving up the queue and will be dealt with shortly"

Come in:

"Thank you for your patience: I'm pleased to be able to deal with your request; please operate the aperture cover release device and proceed at your earliest convenience"

Wouldn't want to infringe anyone's human rights, would we ... especially those of dodgy little reprobates who seem incapable of acknowledging anything akin to social responsibility, let alone parentally-delegated authority. 50p for a squirt of hand gel, anyone?
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 12:53 pm   #17
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

The school where my dad worked had those lights outside one of the teachers flats it was I seem to remember 3 small bulbs possibly torch bulbs on a wooden block right by the door the wait think it was home made but definitely a copy of the commercially available ones probably knocked up by the physics teacher. When I worked at an electrical workshop as an apprentice in the bosses office there were six 15 watt Pygmy bulbs which lit whenever anyone phoned the corresponding office not sure of the purpose of this maybe the boss wanted to keep an eye on fone use I remember the colours of the lamps were red yellow blue green orange and clear
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 12:56 pm   #18
Kala_12
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

Love your sense of "humour"
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 1:06 pm   #19
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

No politics please.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 6:38 pm   #20
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Busy, wait, enter lamps for the outside of a manager's office or headmaster's stu

Thinking back... The one for the headmaster's door at my Prep. school was a metal plate about the size of a modern double socket plate but with the long axis vertical. There were 3 rectangular lamp covers on it with the words engraved on them. Red (Engaged), Amber (Wait) and Green (Enter). I can't remember what the switch box on the desk looked like, nor did I ever have a chance to take it to bits. There was no bell, you knocked on the door, the headmaster turned the appropriate indicater on and you acted accordingly.

I can't remember if the High Master in the upper school had such a system or not. If he did, it would almost certainly have been of the same type.
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