Willis Lamm's
Traffic Signal Collection

(And Street Lights Too)

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  Joslyn Manufacturing Co.
Form 79 "Gumball" Street Light

In the days when incandescent street lights were king, most every manufacturer made a "gumball" style street light. These lights had round or nearly round glass refractors that were ideal for use with series and 120 volt lamps ranging from about 2500 lumens (200 watt) to 10,000 lumens (600 watts,) although most often for brighter application the luminaires used larger and longer "tear drop" refractors.

I have had this street light since 1966, far longer than anything else in the collection. When I was in 8th grade, my next door neighbor and I would ride our bicycles to the town dump where the utility company had dumped dozens of street lights in the switch over to mercury vapor. We could get street lights on 6 ft. arms for fifty cents each. We would ride home with the street lights balanced across our handle bars. After we had accumulated a few, we would clean them up, install new bulbs and cords, and sell them for $7.00 apiece. That was a huge profit for kids back in 1966.

On one trip I hit a bump and dropped one of the street lights, breaking the refractor. We didn't sell that one and I saved it all these years, eventually mounting it to a single guy truss arm to light the rear gate at our California ranch where it provided service for about 20 years.

I never found a exact replacement for the broken refractor however I did recently come across a GE 205 refractor that was nearly an exact match, so I restored the light using the GE refractor and added it to the collection.

The GE 205 refractor is nearly identical to the original Holophane refractor. The most notable differences are that the GE refractor comes to a very slight point at the bottom and the reflector is pressed onto the refractor. (The Joslyn refractor could be replaced since it was attached to the reflector by a removable band, however if a GE refractor was broken it would need to be replaced as a complete set - refractor and reflector.)

Most reflectors were bright aluminum. However in some locations the outsides of the reflectors were painted a dull green to prevent annoying sunlight from reflecting into second story windows. This particular reflector was painted so it was restored that way.

Some reflectors on pole mounted street lights had an additional aluminum blade or paddle that dropped down on one side inside the refractor. This blade directed light away from houses located behind the street light and towards the roadway. This particular light was for a center of street application and had no additional interior reflectors.

The NEMA style luminaire could be used for either high voltage series or conventional 120 volt applications. An insulated entrance was provided on the side of the luminare sufficient to prevent high voltage discharge against the aluminum housing. After installation the entrance hole would be packed with putty to prevent insects from entering the light.

The light restored.
Joslyn Trade Mark.

GE 205 Refractor.
CTC Co. Glass.

View showing the wire entrance & safety chain.

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Line Material Spherolite Jr. Street Light


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