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Old 06-21-2014, 11:05 PM   #1
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What is this?

I need some help in identifying an antique. I haven't seen the object in person, I just have these two photos. Three hours in to my internet search, I'm still stumped.

I used the Google image tricks imoldernu describes here:
Who's this?
None of the similar images were anywhere in the ballpark.

The vents, what may be soot stains on the inside and the shielded red glass piece suggest it is a lantern of some kind, lit up by a flame. So it either was designed for portable use before batteries were common, or it dates to before it's original home was wired for electricity.

I don't think it's railroad brakeman's lantern, because it has no handle. Unless the handle was originally mounted to the "ears" on the body and is missing...

The pictures I found of a R.R. switch lantern all seem to have both a red and green display at 90-degree angles. Same with caboose lights, I think. This lantern looks like it only points in one direction.

"C. U. R 18 - 6 - 40" is the identifier on the tag.

The two "typewriter key" buttons on the top are very puzzling...

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:07 PM   #2
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It looks like a thingamajig to me.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:15 PM   #3
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Those ears were probably for the handle, like a leather strap. The two levers on top may lift and lower the discs which could be a red and green one.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
Those ears were probably for the handle, like a leather strap. The two levers on top may lift and lower the discs which could be a red and green one.
Could be, but doesn't the position of the levers suggests a travel distance less than the diameter of the discs?
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:33 PM   #5
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Looks like the levers change places in the slot so the movement may be linear and the discs on a pivot.
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:21 AM   #6
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looks like some kind of port side light..
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Old 06-22-2014, 07:25 AM   #7
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looks like some kind of port side light..
Seconded.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:21 AM   #8
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I "inherited" a rr lantern and did some research on it. Think I remember one like this. There look like there are a few parts missing though, the handle, the len's that would cover that front funnel, the wick plate. Also could it be a miner's lantern?
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Old 06-22-2014, 03:26 PM   #9
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I'm going with the idea that it's a conductor's signaling lantern with a mechanism that changes the reflector from red to some other color. aja8888's explanation makes sense, although I can't quite picture how the pieces fit together or operate.

It must be an unusual model. I scanned through 2000 eBay pictures and only found one other lantern that had a mechanism for alternating colors through a single lens. It had a simpler design with the color lenses rotating around a vertical axis, using a sliding knob to change the colors.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:23 PM   #10
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18-6-40 could be 18-June-1940.
C.U.R. could be someone's intitials.

OK, it's a casket lantern … available only in Europe during the WWII and used for burials during blackouts.
j/k
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:03 PM   #11
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Well, it must be pretty unique, whatever it is. (It's definitely not a stop light as listed.)

It sold today for $110 in a City of Houston online surplus auction.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:12 PM   #12
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Looks like a lantern, and the two pedals on the top could change between a red and green reflector when punched down.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:54 PM   #13
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C.U.R. stands for Central Uruguay Railway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Uruguay_Railway


(Of course, it could also stand for a lot of other things as well.)
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Looks like a lantern, and the two pedals on the top could change between a red and green reflector when punched down.
I think so - my searching found references to 'classification lights' on trains - a single lantern with switchable colored lenses to identify the train (like if it is a 'special' train, running off-schedule or something).

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