Old Lamp

An ancient lamp, perhaps from a bicycle, a car or merely a fancy torch ?


will reveal the answer



 It's been kept in really nice condition because the owner followed the instructions on the label.

Compared with a modern equivalent this lamp is a beautifully engineered thing. Every little detail has been thought out most carefully and this has resulted in the lamp lasting 80 years. There are no signs of battery leakage and the electrical contacts are in the same condition as the day they were assembled. Even the spare bulb is present in its special compartment which is opened by a spring loaded catch flush with the side of the case. Another catch frees the glass and reflector and two more release the top so that the battery can be changed.

On the lid is a push button which can be locked down by a rotary switch.

The really clever bit is the knurled ring which, when rotated, moved the reflector and will focus the bulb for extra range.This is what the patent is for.

The label informs the user that the interior of the lamp must be kept clean by periodical washing out with water and regreasing. A copious amount of grease has been applied ensuring that the inside is still in new condition.

The lamp takes a battery about double the size of the 3-volt cycle lamp battery common 40 years ago and about the volume of six D-size cells. This probably reflects the relative inefficiency of early batteries, which had to be large to supply a useful amount of power. The bulb has an early style of bayonet fitting and looks original, being made by Ediswan and marked 2 V .75A. It has a simple coil, not a coiled coil of course, but does look like tungsten... Does the low voltage indicate that the battery wasn't the usual leclanche type, or did it indicate they wanted lots of illumination at the expense of shortened bulb life?


The label on the underside reads...


PATENT No 201089



 The last picture shows the intricate spring loaded battery connection arrangements liberally lubricated.

Maybe someone can shed some light on the likely use this old lamp has seen. Was it in a police station, in a coal mine, or was it just stuck on the front of an ancient bicycle?


Thanks to John Holley "alphadeltaplus" for this link to an Ex-Air Ministry example used by police in the 1920s

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