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littleevan99
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Posted - 01/02/2014 :  3:18:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit littleevan99's Homepage  Send littleevan99 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Recently I've been doing research for a future kitbashing project for my new layout. One thing that has stumped me is the difference between a acetylene headlight and an arc headlight. I was looking at the PSC On3/O scale parts catalog and for headlights all I could find were arc headlights. Are the acetylene and arc headlights the same? My railroad is set around the late 1890's and early 1900's. I'm not really sure what the difference between the two is. Any ideas?
Live steam locomotive under construction: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=98527

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desertdrover
Engineer



Posted - 01/02/2014 :  3:40:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Locomotives began brandishing dazzling electric carbon arc headlights toward the end of the nineteenth century. These locomotive searchlights were replacing the dim oil and acetylene headlights on the old steam engines of the past. In the early years various headlamps were introduced using acetylene gas. Although the illuminating power of carbon arc headlights was far superior to that of the older kerosene and acetylene lamps, some railroad officials considered them a menace to safety. They tended temporarily to blind the engineers in oncoming trains and sometimes their brilliance changed the color characteristics of some railway signals. Also, the reflection of the light could temporarily blind an engineer in his own cab under certain weather conditions.
Nineteenth century types of locomotive carbon arc lights were powered by an electric generator located in the baggage car.
Below is the Arc and Acetylene types;
Also, a Dynamo used for an Arc light; You can see why the electric generator was located in a baggage car.
Check out this link for some light history; http://www.ideashelper.com/history-railway-locomotive-headlamp-14.htm







Louis
Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast
Post count: 5000 posts added to below count.

Edited by - desertdrover on 01/02/2014 4:20:17 PM

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CieloVistaRy
Fireman



Posted - 01/02/2014 :  5:43:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Ethan and welcome to the forum. As usual, Louis has given a great answer. Not much I could add to that!

Arthur

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littleevan99
New Hire



Posted - 01/02/2014 :  7:15:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit littleevan99's Homepage  Send littleevan99 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Where would I find acetylene headlights though? It seems that the arc and acetylene headlights practically looked the same.

Live steam locomotive under construction: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=98527

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/littleevan99

Country: USA | Posts: 19 Go to Top of Page

MinerFortyNiner
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 01/02/2014 :  9:02:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit MinerFortyNiner's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ethan, welcome to the forum!

As for your statement, they did look a lot alike…both had a large box-shaped or cylindrical housings, but could be fitted with the carbon elements for an arc light, or an acetylene burner. Some of these housings received upgrades where an electric light was installed to replace arc or acetylene fixtures. The telltale sign of a heat-producing arc or acetylene headlamp is the chimney - the square extension right over the lamp. It was necessary to allow heat to escape, promoting air circulation around the lamp.

I would suggest selecting a headlamp that is styled for the era you are modeling…use prototype photos as a guide if you wish…and choose something with a chimney. If you plan to illuminate the headlight with a bulb or LED, remember that acetylene headlights weren't turned on by a switch…they were lit, and had to be extinguished manually. Arc headlights were never lit and then extinguished, and then lit again shortly afterwards. Having worked with old arc spotlights in my former life, once an arc light is struck it should remain lit for some time. So, if switching with a backup light, it is either on or off the entire time. The electric headlights that replaced arc or acetylene weren't much brighter…crews on the Santa Fe used to call their electric headlights 'golden glow' to describe their relative lack of power. It wasn't until bulb and lens technology improved later in the 20th century with sealed beam headlights that they became really bright.

One other thing my research has found - most railroads did not normally operate with headlights on during daylight until the 1940s or later, when electric headlights became very bright. So, they would be lit for illumination in the old days, contrary to what is stated in the resource link above. The information at the link is helpful, but was written by a British fellow, and practices differed in the United States. A headlight's purpose today is as much for safety during the day as for illumination at night; back in the early days, they were intended more for illumination at night or in limited visibility conditions.

Hope this doesn't just muddy the water more…most important, have fun!



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littleevan99
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Posted - 01/02/2014 :  10:57:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit littleevan99's Homepage  Send littleevan99 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the replies! That cleared things up a bit. A side note though, my name is Evan. I'm the "evan" in my username.

Live steam locomotive under construction: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=98527

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/littleevan99

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desertdrover
Engineer



Posted - 01/03/2014 :  10:01:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by littleevan99

Where would I find acetylene headlights though? It seems that the arc and acetylene headlights practically looked the same.


Evan, to name a few who have older headlights are, Cal-Scale, Durango Press and Walthers carries some others. Below is one from Durango Press 254-45 and the other is from Cal Scale 190-204.
The second picture shows a Durango Press Headlight used by Rio Grande, the early box type that I put an LED into. (I know, you ask why a yellow light)?
Edit I got so tied up with trying to help with information, that I just realized you are modeling On30. The lights and #'s shown are for HO scale headlights.






Louis
Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast
Post count: 5000 posts added to below count.

Edited by - desertdrover on 01/03/2014 12:01:07 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 15263 Go to Top of Page

littleevan99
New Hire



Posted - 01/03/2014 :  4:42:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit littleevan99's Homepage  Send littleevan99 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by desertdrover

quote:
Originally posted by littleevan99

Where would I find acetylene headlights though? It seems that the arc and acetylene headlights practically looked the same.


Evan, to name a few who have older headlights are, Cal-Scale, Durango Press and Walthers carries some others. Below is one from Durango Press 254-45 and the other is from Cal Scale 190-204.
The second picture shows a Durango Press Headlight used by Rio Grande, the early box type that I put an LED into. (I know, you ask why a yellow light)?
Edit I got so tied up with trying to help with information, that I just realized you are modeling On30. The lights and #'s shown are for HO scale headlights.







Thanks, I've been looking here for headlights: http://www.precisionscaleco.com/O%20Steam%20Cat%20Ill%20pdf.pdf

Particularly the PSH 4259, and the PSH 4309. Or this one, http://www.locopainter.com/store/product.php?id=1239

Thanks for helping to clear things up for me.



Live steam locomotive under construction: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=98527

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/littleevan99

Country: USA | Posts: 19 Go to Top of Page

desertdrover
Engineer



Posted - 01/03/2014 :  4:49:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by littleevan99

[quote]
Thanks, I've been looking here for headlights: http://www.precisionscaleco.com/O%20Steam%20Cat%20Ill%20pdf.pdf

Particularly the PSH 4259, and the PSH 4309. Or this one, http://www.locopainter.com/store/product.php?id=1239

Thanks for helping to clear things up for me.




Any time!



Louis
Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast
Post count: 5000 posts added to below count.

Country: USA | Posts: 15263 Go to Top of Page

littleevan99
New Hire



Posted - 01/03/2014 :  6:16:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit littleevan99's Homepage  Send littleevan99 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
This Sunday I'm going to a GTE and am hoping to find a cheap Bmann On30 2-6-0 to kitbash. So this has helped me so when I gather parts I know what to get.

Live steam locomotive under construction: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=98527

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/littleevan99

Country: USA | Posts: 19 Go to Top of Page
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