Some of you may have read one of my previous threads in which I talked about making an LED tail lamp conversion, here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/708324/822589.html?1514737510
Anyway, I made the LED conversion with 86 super-bright LEDs to shine through the extremely dark red lens. Don't get me wrong, it's a very pretty deep red, but it's so dark that even with all those LEDs, it still wasn't bright enough to see during the day! I can't even imagine how dim it would have been with kerosene.
I had another tail light, but it had a cracked lens so I didn't use it. I noticed it was much lighter, and extremely bright shining my LEDs through it. I ordered a new tail lamp lens, and it too is much lighter.
So my question is, why is the old one so dark? The old one is on the left:
Someone probably knows the answer as to why the lens is so dark. Could it have been because of the amount of light and color of light emitted by the oil light? Or could it be from exposure to the sun such as the headlights get purple when they have been in the sun for years? Or could it be from smoke? If it is from smoke, a thorough cleansing should help things.
Yeah, I was thinking that maybe it darkened from exposure to the sun or something. It's definitely not from smoke. I've cleaned it thoroughly, but it didn't help.
Hopefully someone will know better than me!
I always thought it was from sun exposure - like the sidelight and headlight lenses that would get purple and darken... there's no reason I know the taillight glass wouldn't do the same thing. That, or the consistency of the batches of colored glass may have varied as well... Once I cleaned mine, both the smooth and stepped sides matched in color (and lack of carbon smudgyness), and they were somewhere between the 2 examples shown above.
I can say the color of mine is more ruby than clear red to orange-red.
I hated to do it when I did it. But some years ago on a car I had, I made a new lens by cutting a round piece to fit the tail-lamp out of a modern trailer lens that had plenty of size and a decent shape (depth). It really did not look bad at all. In fact, several people on tours would ask me how I got it to shine so bright, not realizing the lens was modern plastic.
I may have hated doing it when I did, but I never regretted it later.
I do wonder how the plastic lens would hold up against an oil flame. It might soften and lose shape. But might be worth a try. Some tail or side lamps don't really get all that hot, at least down below the rising heat of the flame.
It's not just the oil tail light lenses. The electric one are similar. We used to have kero lamps set up at roadworks before battery ones were introduced. The kero lamp lenses are the same size as a T lens and are considerably lighter in colour. They shine much brighter also, without looking out of place.
Allan from down under.