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Beauty of old electrical and measuring things, etc.

  1. May 31, 2014 #1

    dlgoff

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    Even as a kid, I saw beauty in old devices. That made me want to understand how they worked. I had lots of old things that I keep and now reviving. Old things need to work to see the beauty. Here's what I've done so far.

    Two views of the gadgets shelves and my small work space:

    vSQaxxn.jpg

    TLCR4FU.jpg

    Here's a close up look at the meters, gauges and other measuring things:

    texXDp4.jpg

    This is what I think of as surface-mount electrical components and wiring. The components are very old and shows how electrical wiring was done from ~1915 to ~1930+. The ceramic "stand-offs" were called knobs and ceramic "through-hole" insulators (usually through wood beams) were called tubes. Hence the name, knob and tube wiring. I haven't acquired any tubes however.

    tSKRLe6.jpg

    Everything has been wired to power (with the exception of the knife switch w/fuses with vintage incoming and outgoing cloth insulated wire). The toggle switch is made of black ceramic and brass. The bluish color bulb is very old and still works. The other white bulb is modern, but the pull-chain socket is vintage.

    WCZs1vB.jpg

    ta6ImiO.jpg

    Here's two reproduction Edison bulbs in vintage ceramic sockets and is switched by the right push-button switches (other push-button is a spare). The switch cover is brass plated copper.

    upMVm5z.jpg

    These ceramic sockets have pull-chain switches in their bases. The switches still work and the pull chains are original. The clearance between the pull-chain and rotating brass contacts is very small. That's probably why the left pull-chain has an insulator in it.

    There's another push-button switch and duplex receptacle in the wall under the surface stuff. It's receptacle and cover are made of Bakelite. That push-button turns on these bulbs:

    OqdQ0Cs.jpg

    Two of the bulbs are really old; one uses neon to make a flickering flame and one uses phosphorescent purple and green flowers and leaves. They’re running on 115 volt power. The other ones (note the big 1000 watt bulb) filaments are being lighted by 25 volts via a step down transformer so as to just glow and not overwhelm the gas bulbs. The gas bulbs are screwed into vintage ceramic sockets.

    There are three high voltage transformers (two are really old). The 6.0 kV transformer powers the green neon tube. Check out how it illuminates my old glassware.

    hqn3pQf.jpg

    The 7.5 kV transformer applies its potential to one end of small vintage fluorescent tubes inserted in the test-tube & distilling flask and causes them to glow from "static" discharge. Note how I tried to make the flask appear to be condensing drops of light from the string of very small neon tubes inside the flask's discharge tube. I was very lucky to find the drip shaped neon tube. I took it out of an old Heath-Kit fish/depth finder.

    hePjIRQ.jpg

    The 9.0 kV transformer power is applied to handmade electrodes. I had two really old bi-metal temperature switches where I removed and reshaped the bi-metal, added the brass "arc tips", and attached them to a vintage glass power line pole insulator. After being power, the bi-metal leads are orientated such that the heat from the current causes the gag to increase; making the arc get longer and longer.

    29Oc9Qz.jpg

    This is still a work in progress as I still have to add a brass platted duplex receptacle to supply power to the oscilloscope and sweep generator (just left of the scope) shown in the first photo.

    If you have any thing old and would like to share a photo, please do. It's all beautiful in my mind.
     
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  3. May 31, 2014 #2

    davenn

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    very cool, Don
    beautifully displayed collection :smile:

    Dave
     
  4. May 31, 2014 #3

    jim hardy

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    That you have the stuff working makes it triple-cool .

    In these helter-skelter times it is good to have reminders of from whence we came.
    Like a good mariner who hones his skill at steering by a periodic look at his wake.

    A simple thing like the ornate script on those meter faces reminds us of a time when craftsmanship and attention to detail was paramount.

    I too have some old stuff . Some of it i need to send to you.

    Don I hope this starts another photo thread.
    Hmmm, i wonder if i can figure out how to work that digital camera the kids gave me?

    old jim
     
  5. May 31, 2014 #4

    Averagesupernova

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    Pretty cool stuff. Some of it doesn't seem that old to me. But, when placed with other older things they do seem old. Is that an oven temp gauge in the third pic?
     
  6. May 31, 2014 #5

    dlgoff

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    Yes. Not too old.
     
  7. May 31, 2014 #6
    Beautiful. Where do you find these things?
     
  8. May 31, 2014 #7

    dlgoff

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    I could send you one of these. :biggrin:

    97PMYFg.jpg
     
  9. May 31, 2014 #8

    dlgoff

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    When around 14 years old I gained the confidence of Oscar E. Clark, well-known in Eudora as “Dobbs” who frighten most residences of the town for his idiosyncrasies. He made his fortune from scrap collecting. He would let me look through his stuff behind his home where I found lots of old military electronics; most of which are long gone. I did get the 9 kv transformer from there. But most of this stuff I found at various places as a kid,
     
  10. May 31, 2014 #9

    jim hardy

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    Ah-Ha! I could send you another of that leftmost one !

    "American Pickers" is raising public awareness of 'junque connoisseurs" ?
     
  11. May 31, 2014 #10

    dlgoff

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    Only if I can figure out how it works! I don't see any menus showing me how to set-up the darn thing. :confused:
     
  12. May 31, 2014 #11

    berkeman

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    Beauty, Don. :smile:

    In your first pic, is that an HP Impedance Analyzer on the left wall near the bottom? We still use a couple of them at work (for different frequency ranges).
     
  13. May 31, 2014 #12

    dlgoff

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    Well, I guess you could use it for that with some other gear. It's a HP 651A TEST OSCILLATOR.

    There was a whole in the wall where I had removed an old Craig AM/FM 8-Track Receiver a couple years ago and I filled it with the HP. I use it every once in a while. Never thought about picturing it. I guess it's kinda old.

    http://www.hpmemory.org/wb_pages/wall_b_page_10a.htm

    IRjutOn.jpg
     
  14. Jun 1, 2014 #13

    Borek

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    Cool :smile:

    That could be a new cyberpunk genre - electric punk.
     
  15. Jun 1, 2014 #14

    davenn

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    OMG a Box Brownie in the middle of the pic in post 7

    I did my first couple of years of astro photo's with one of those that my mom gave me
    somewhere ~ 1969 - 1970

    Dave
     
  16. Jun 2, 2014 #15

    dlgoff

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    I was hoping that someone else would post a pic or two. Oh well. Here's some other temperature measuring devices.

    This is a oven temp calibration gauge that uses a Type J (iron – constantan) thermocouple (0°F to 650°F).

    HvVx9mi.jpg

    A Hg glass lab thermometer (0°C to 50°C)

    azzZxmN.jpg

    A Hg deep fat fryer thermometer (100°F to 400°F)

    JfMS9X9.jpg
     
  17. Jun 2, 2014 #16

    Borek

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    Sigh, I can't find it, I hope it is not lost :frown: I had a textbook about electric measurements, published somewhere between WWI and WWII.
     
  18. Jun 3, 2014 #17

    dlgoff

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    Still have it?
     
  19. Jun 3, 2014 #18

    jim hardy

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    Still havent made the "leap to digital" yet. But i'll be along.
     
  20. Jun 3, 2014 #19

    dlgoff

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    Hope you know I was only teasing you. I love my little point-and-shoot Cannon. I've never read the user manual. The only thing I ever need to change is Flash off/auto.
     
  21. Jun 6, 2014 #20

    Averagesupernova

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    Don I have some pix of things I would like to post but I need to do some digging to get to them and I don't have a lot of time to do so right now. I am glad this thread got a 'sticky' so it stays at the top. That way I just might remember.
     
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