Oil lamp reflectors

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Oil lamp reflectors
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By harold lee cartwright on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 07:01 pm:

what can be used on the inside of the oil lamps to make them more reflective are there new ones available to put in or what are people doing to make them more visable


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 07:15 pm:

I didn't do it, but I have bought some that had been painted inside with silver spray paint. They seem bright enough for what they're for.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 07:38 pm:

Eastwood makes a "chrome" paint that isn't really a good match to chrome, but is pretty darn reflective:

http://www.eastwood.com/ew-liquid-chrome-and-clear-kit.html


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wells, Hamilton Ontario on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 10:21 pm:

I used the silver spray paint on mine. It's holding up well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Jorgensen on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 10:30 pm:

Langs sells reflectors you can add to your lamps.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Jensen on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 11:51 pm:

One of oil lamps on the T I just bought had a piece of aluminum foil in it to reflect the light.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 12:18 am:

I am in the midst of restoring ones for my '15 runabout. With a little luck, there may be a short thread on them later. I have already taken a couple photos.
The earlier ones, like for my '15, I have never seen any nice enough originals to see any remains of plating on the round (ball like?) reflectors. I have a few of the later types (more square-like inside) that have nearly usable plating that appears original. It looks like it may be nickel, but I would not swear to it.

It is not purist detail perfect, but on several later electric tail and cowl lamps, I have used silver paint before inside on lamps that originally had no bright-work or reflectors inside. It seems to help visibility quite a bit over the factory black that they had.
I have seen enough model T oil side and tail lamps done that way, that I am planning to do silver paint also for the '15.
For what it is worth.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 03:02 am:

Wayne, I use "Bumper Chrome" spray paint on the inside of my electric lamps. It's basically just a gloss silver spray paint. May make a little more "reflectiveness". The stainless steel reflectors for the oil lamps do help. I had to polish a couple of them, but that was years ago. Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 07:51 am:

Many years ago, I read an article in a motorcycle magazine that suggested painting the 'reflector' of the tail light WHITE. the theory was that you were not trying to focus and project a light beam like a headlight, but make the light more visible to others. The paint kinda gave the tail light a large solid red glow, rather than what sometimes appears as hundreds of tiny beams of red light.

I wouldn't do it to a new light, but being the cheapskate that I am, I would probably do it to an old one needing some work before replacing it with a new one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn-Monroeville OH on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 08:19 am:

Did you try finding a "re-chroming" outfit? I sure wouldn't spray paint 'em. Eastwood's "chrome" spray has lousy reviews. I put chrome in quotation marks, because frankly there is NO subsitute for real chrome. To me, once you've painted those reflectors, there not only goes the purism aspect (sorry guys) but also the value, if one feels the need to consider that. It just aint the same. My two cents. Worth a lot less due to inflation.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 09:06 am:

My two 1917-23 style oil tail lamps looks like bare steel on the inside? Painting some light color like white or silver might help - the light isn't very visible - but I wonder how good the paint holds up?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 01:03 pm:

Were they ever chromed (silvered/nickeled/etc)? We are talking oil lights, not headlight reflectors. What were they originally?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Justin H. - Western PA on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 02:30 pm:

Hal, I just went through and painted my lamps which look almost as though they were never burned. The wicks are unused and the original paint was actually very good. The inner reflectors do have some dulling and minor surface rust in places but a fair amount of the original surface is on them. Call me crazy but it almost looks like cad plating. If you've ever seen an old tin can that has shiny parts still on it, that is what they look like. I'll try and post a picture later.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 02:32 pm:

Hi Justin,

I am reasonably sure that it is Tin plating.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 07:08 pm:

The couple decent (later style) I have could be cad or tin also. That, I am not an expert on.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Henrichs on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 08:00 pm:

Wayne,

I have a set of 1915 NOS sidelights/tailight with the round reflectors. They are plated and to my eye it looks like cadmium. They are not super smooth like tin. The finish also looks the same as some of the NOS 17 and later lights with the square reflectors I have. There.. guess that confuses the issue more. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Herb Iffrig on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 08:53 pm:

I had always heard that the reflectors were tin plated.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Justin H. - Western PA on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 10:27 pm:

I think the tin plating is correct.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 10:56 pm:

Proper round reflectors used on 15 lights were brass. They are excellent candidates for nickel plating, without the polishing preparation usually done on external bright parts like the radiator neck.

Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Friday, October 23, 2015 - 12:59 am:

Interesting stuff.

Dennis H, No more confusion! That is what we call another data point! That is all several of my '15 runabout body details, wheels, blue door, and side lamps are. They are data points.

Justin H, That is about how a couple of my later reflectors look.

Allen B, Brass? The reflectors? I need to go look at the couple more '15ish tail lamps I have and am not working on. But the one tail lamp and four side lamps I am working on all have steel ball shaped reflectors. I know they are steel because most of them have rusted through a little bit (and one had rusted through badly, hopefully, photos to follow).
I have never noticed one of these earlier reflectors to be made of brass. But would not doubt it may have been on some. Maybe it is an early early versus later early thing?

I think we need more data points. I am still not satisfied with when was the change made from round/ball shaped reflectors to more squarish flat sided reflectors? About 1918, but?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Henrichs on Friday, October 23, 2015 - 10:17 pm:

Hi Wayne,

Just a correction on my part re the reflectors. I had been going from my memory and posted late at night before. (I know, "memory" is a bad thing to have.) :-) Anyway, today I located a couple of my boxes of the 1915 and the later square reflector lights. You and Justin are correct... The later lights sure look like tin plate--even the NOS ones. I remembered a set I had as being cadmium or nickel... however I found those had been replated in the past. In regard to the NOS 1915 round reflector set I have, they "appear" to be nickel plated, unpolished so they have a "satin" not shiny appearance. The "color" sure looks the same as unpolished nickel but can't tell for sure.

As to how long the round reflector lights were used, I was told by several people many years ago that the round reflector was changed in 1916 sometime. (I know that's hearsay and not admissible to the discussion :-). Take it for what it is worth.

I suspect the manufactures went to tin plate as the lights would soot up from use and did not need good reflective qualities. Also cheaper than silver plate as on the early lights.


Anyway, thought I would throw this left handed monkey wrench in the gears of discussion.

Dennis


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Saturday, October 24, 2015 - 12:30 am:

Thank you Dennis H! More data points. And no monkey wrenches!
I have heard, read, been told, that the change from more round to more square was anywhere from late 1915 up to around 1920. For what it is worth, based solely on the numbers of each I have seen, plus a few original early black era Ts I have looked at, I would guess (that is a GUESS!) the change was made between late 1917 and mid 1918. I also believe (but cannot prove) that there was a short time where the round reflector was used with no holes around the base of the chimney. I have simply looked at too many lamps like that at swap meets to think it wasn't done at least for awhile.
I guess about forty years ago, I should have started keeping accurate records of all I saw for a statistical analysis. And yes, memory is not infallible. Maybe not only "even" mine? Maybe especially mine?
And again, this is not a detail that I consider myself to be an expert at. Just opinionated.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Monday, October 26, 2015 - 04:03 am:

Well, how about another couple data points. Today, I finally knocked apart my last really rusty, yet fairly early, '15/'16 style side-lamp. It was being very stubborn, and I was being gentle. trying to not ruin any of the parts. It was in pretty rough shape, but most pieces looked to be salvageable. I thought the round /ball shaped reflector was steel? Because there was a fair amount of rust on much of it? Well, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!
Shortly after stating on Friday above, "I have never noticed one of these earlier reflectors to be made of brass." The rust on the reflector was all water transferred. The reflector was made of brass. It even had black paint on most of the reflector. I Doubt that the black paint is original? But do not know. I so far have not found any signs of plating on this reflector. Which leads me to item two.
After finding this made-from-brass reflector, I decided it was finally time to dig out the two other '15ish tail-lamps I had buried deep in my stash of stuff. I had gotten these a few years ago, hoping to use some for a future '15 project. Memory being what it is, I wasn't really sure of what I had, but thought one was an earlier version, one a basic '15 type. Basically, that is what they are. The earlier one is not one of the earliest style. They have much wider rims (bezels). This one has a rim that is the same size as the later ones, although the spring catch is a bit different. Almost everything else is different. The bowl has the extra flair, the inside reflector is totally different, as is the burner. The main body and chimney look very similar to the common-for-years ones, but are made slightly differently. The mounting is almost exactly like everything that followed.
The common '15 style tail lamp held a little surprise. The round ball like reflector was again made from brass, and this one still has decent plating on it. Again, I can't say for certain whether it is nickel or tin, or even cadmium. I would guess tin.
I need to work on my photography and photo posting. I will try to post some photos in a couple days. Maybe on this thread, maybe another. Maybe both.
Allen B, I really never doubted you. Again, just a couple more data points.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jesse L. Ashcraft on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 04:55 pm:

>>>The reflector was made of brass.<<<

Good catch, Wayne. After I read this, I started tinkering around with that myself. At first I thought the reflectors in the lamps of my '14 were tin because of their dull silver appearance. I realized later that was just the zinc of the brass coming through. The reflector is a square brass plate with the concave reflector pressed into it.

BEFORE:



So I went after it with a concoction some antique dealers use to polish bronze and brass.

Mix equal parts of ordinary flour and salt. Then pour in white vinegar until you have a soupy paste. Brush it on the brass. Leave for 30 to 45 minutes and wash off. This may make the copper prominent with a reddish appearance. Finished it up with some Brasso. I hit the problem areas with real fine steel wool.
AFTER:


(Message edited by jesselashcraft on October 27, 2015)

(Message edited by jesselashcraft on October 27, 2015)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 09:38 pm:

Those cleaned up nice!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jesse L. Ashcraft on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 07:37 pm:

>>>Those cleaned up nice!<<<

Using Brasso alone takes a lot more elbow grease.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Friday, November 06, 2015 - 01:17 pm:

I was looking for a round kerosene side or tail light to see why they seem to blow out while driving.

I bought one on tbay and received it yesterday. It turns out the lamp is a NOS Edmunds & Jones No. 3-414, Ford, Model 9, tail light. It has never been lit. It has the square reflector.

The reflector plating seems to be "tin" as Justin H. describes.



There is also some of the tin plating on the oil font.



The burner cover is also tin plated rather than chrome plated. The burners on the square lamps are chrome plated.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Friday, November 06, 2015 - 01:28 pm:

Ken,
Think the burners are nickeled, not chrome. That's quite a find in a lamp!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Friday, November 06, 2015 - 04:20 pm:

David,

That lamp was quite a surprise. It must have been inside a closed container all those years but the lamp is all I got.

The nickel plating on the burners is different than on my square side lights but I didn't know what it really is. Thanks.

Ken in Texas


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