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Old 11-30-2008, 04:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Did Oil Lamp Headlights Flicker?

I recently purchased a set of LED "tea lights" at my local Walgreens, 6 for $5. My intention was, and is, to use the LEDs for headlights. In looking at them, however, I has an interesting idea. There is some sort of circuit inside (I've not yet opened it up to find out what) which causes the light to flicker. Would it be prototypical to keep that feature, assuming that the headlight in question is an old oil lamp box headlight? Also, the light is a very yellow-orange. Is that a reasonable color? I would think it would be better than white, but I'd like to hear the opinions of others who might know.
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: Did Oil Lamp Headlights Flicker?

I don't think so.

We always used oil lanterns when the power was out, and they burn very steady.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: Did Oil Lamp Headlights Flicker?

I don't believe you would see a loco with kerosene light flicker as the flame can be adjusted to burn very steady. I have two caboose lights out side with with the original pods for use with lantern oil and they burn steady when the wick is adjusted right. Also very bright due to the reflector style lens. Later RJD
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: Did Oil Lamp Headlights Flicker?

Thanks for the replys, guys. Would the motion of the locomotive make any difference?
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: Did Oil Lamp Headlights Flicker?

Kenneth makes the point that crossed my mind. Both Tom and RJ's lamps were/are motionless whereas a loco is usually on the move. I read a while ago that the J&S Bachmann cars, with the brass contact which rubs on the axle, would look more prototypical for a car with oil lamps. Whether that is true, or not, I can't say - I wasn't around in those days. Even motionless lamps, which are outdoors however, can be affected by strong winds.


The move to gas lighting I am sure was beneficial and generator/battery was even better. Was Calcium Carbide used in the States? I don't think it was over here - but as they say, someone may know better. The older type lighting was the cause of horrendous fires, I believe , after a train wrecks.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: Did Oil Lamp Headlights Flicker?

Pentrex had published a video of the woodburning Eureka and Cascade 4-4-0 running on the Silverton Railroad.

The loco has a box-style oil headlamp of the 1880's variety.

In certain scenes the flame brightness dips momentarily. It is not a candle flicker, but it is not a steady incandescent light either.

It was a tape worth buying, in my view.

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Old 01-07-2009, 03:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: Did Oil Lamp Headlights Flicker?

Dear Sir, In the 50s infact up to the end of steam (67) the headlamps on our choo choos certainly flickered even though modified lamps had an extra box inside the lamp body to prevent draughts from blowing the flame out.
The colour of the flame through the lamp bull (lense) was a yellowish shade. We would trim a lamp by before lighting the wick , break any carbon off that may have built up. Then light the wick and gently lower the size of the flame so the flame burnt without sooting up /smoking the inside of the bull (lense). When the diesels came onto the scene we still used loco lamps for tail lamps. Jim Brodie potential steam engine cleaner.
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