Thank you for stopping by and checking out my Street Lighting Website! Initially, this introduction was going to be brief, touching upon only the highlights of my 35-plus year streetlighting obsession. Possessing a practically endless treasure of memories to share with you, I have decided it would be proper to tell "my story" in much more detail. Otherwise it would be so difficult, if not nearly impossible to describe my adventures and longtime admiration of streetlights. So, get comfortable and I hope you are entertained reading about the background of my streetlighting hobby and career, along with the included photographs.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I became obsessed with street lights several years after my fascination with glass insulators and open-wire pole lines, which was when I was 4 or 5 years old - back in the mid-1950's or so. Always "looking up" soon resulted in an affliction for the streetlights that were in service at that time, which was around 1960. I have been a highly enthusiastic insulator collector and historical researcher of both glass and porcelain insulators for most of my life and have made significant literary contributions to the insulator hobby's magazines, publications and club newsletters. Streetlights have been a nearly consistent second hobby through the years, as I will describe here.
FIXTURES I GREW UP WITH
I was born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, a fair-sized city in southeastern Massachusetts. There were several other utilities in nearby cities, each utilizing somewhat differing street light luminaries and brackets, thus creating an interesting mixture of types to look at. The company that served our city had a lot of differing street light types and styles in service. There were multiple and 6.6-ampere radial-wave incandescents in a variety of fixture, reflector and mounting bracket configurations; some of the latter were of the old "gooseneck" design. The Wheeler Reflector Company manufactured practically all the radial-wave incandescents used in our city, and they were located only two towns way! They provided the entire fixture, bracket arm and everything else right down to the plug-in porcelain socket! Our utility's radial wave lights were ALL Wheeler; there was NO mixing and matching whatsoever! The black, brown and occasional light gray porcelain fixture heads were top mounted; a galvanized metal fixture cap prominently embossed WHEELER BOSTON was fitted onto the pipe arm's 3/4-inch pipe thread. Most brackets were of this diameter, four feet long with a steel under-support. The oldest lights had the "brackets"; some had under-supports while others did not. These and the more commonly seen ones were four footers, also; the later ones were straight with a 90 degree bend at their end to accommodate the fixture. All had pole plates with WHEELER BOSTON on them, most having lag screw mounting holes in a triangular formation. Interestingly, on some of the older poles in Brockton, you can still sometimes see these three holes in formation within the pole's wood. On many, I can visualize the exact fixture that originally was there. It is neat to go there and reminisce in this manner! The gooseneck arm sometimes had smaller sized porcelain heads with double walled reflectors. These reflectors were collar mounted opposed to being of the more commonplace screw-on type. The 1000-lumen street series lamps that were used in the double walled reflectors were more recessed so the socket was hardly visible, making the neck of the lamp hard to see. With the screw on type reflectors, the porcelain (or sometimes bakelite) series socket was more exposed, pretty much in line with the reflector, so you could view the entire lamp. All of these fixtures were externally wired, generally with a two-conductor heavy gauge cable (either cloth or plastic covered) that dropped from the crossarm directly to the fixture or ran down the side of the pole on stand-off insulators and across to the fixture. Very few had open wiring going from the crossarm end down to the fixture. Those that did were on the oldest gooseneck fixtures.