related to my interest in discharge lighting comes a strong interest in
street lighting - specifically that of yesteryear. My
memory of an interest in lighting was watching a 35W SOX lamp in the
streetlight at the end of our driveway coming on and warming up every
evening and wondering why it changed colour. I also observed
complete lack of colour rendering, though I had no idea at the time
what the funny colours it changed peoples cars meant!
meaning to drive past there again someday and see if that lantern is
still there! Though the recent explosion in PL compact
fluorescent based lanterns in the area means that I very much doubt
that the old GEC is still in place.
I've been doing a bit of
investigation when I've been out and about at the weekend in Aberdeen
though trying to track down some of the older (or more unusual)
lanterns in Aberdeen where I'm based these days. Below are
of those I've found, along with a bit of background information where I
The most recent, and
probably most interesting find to date is the
the carpark of an office building presently vacant and up for lease
just off Mugiemoss Road I spotted three SOX lanterns that didn't quite
match anything I had seen locally before.
These turned out after
a little bit of investigation to be really rather venerable old
lanterns, which fellow streetlighting enthusiast Mike
identified for me. They're AEI Amber's, in this case most
in 35W gear-in-base form. The distinctive bowl shape coupled
the even more distinctive latches make this an easy one to identify
once you've actually seen one - which given how scarce they are these
days you probably won't have done. They do have a vaguely
GEC-esque look to them, which isn't really too surprising given that
AEI merged with GEC in 1968, and this is effectively the distant
ancestor to what we later knew as the Beta 5.
The first is the
worst of the bunch, though it's still far from a scrapper!
There's a bit of damage to the bowl, and one of the
has fallen off. In person you can just about make out however
that it's still in the bowl though (buried in the gunk in the bottom),
so could easily be glued back onto the side of the bowl if the lantern
was recovered. There is a fair amount of clouding of the bowl
this one, but nowhere much as bad as on quite a few of the examples
I've seen online.
second lantern is in about as good shape (externally anyway!) as you
could ever wish for a pre-restoration example to be in. The
is far clearer than the first and is undamaged - it must be reasonably
well sealed too given how little gunk there is inside for the age of
it! There are many lanterns throughout the city still in
service more badly in need of a clean than this. This lantern
clearly still has a lamp present in the holder, I couldn't quite make
out whether there was one in the other two.
final one is rather more filfthy, not least due to its residence under
tree, but like the second in good, crack/hole free and complete
condition. It also appears to have lost one of its
diffractors, but it's not so easy to see in this case due to the
clouding and rather grubby state of the bowl.
shall be making contact with the rental agent and the developer who
takes over this site to see if anything can be done to save the rare
lanterns in due course, as it would be a terrible shame for them to end
up in a skip somewhere.
UPDATE: 06 July 2009.
despite a number of attempts to contact the agent holding the site and
doing the development work there, no response was ever received.
Last week I travelled past there again and noted that the
place has been levelled - including the columns shown above.
unless someone other than myself managed to rescue them - I'm afraid
that the quest to save these lanterns was unsuccessful.
the quest to save another, even older one I think I've spotted
elsewhere will be slightly less unsuccessful! More details on
that once I get a chance to get a better look at it.
will be further additions to this page in the future, however I need to
dig all of the photos out and try to remember what's on which streets
and such first - these I wanted to share though, especially as I only
found them recently.