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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:21 pm 
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It has been a fair while since my last musings, therefore standby to have your bandwidth stretched in the usual manner!

Whilst having a peruse through Mr. Cornwell's resources, I came across what could be one of those mystery lanterns - The Eleco 'UNIVERSAL 100' lantern.
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Despite the fact that it is listed on the above website (albeit with no known HW code) and is even mentioned on the company's history page (elecosoft.com), there seems to be precious little else about this lantern. It doesn't seem to feature in any collections either!

I understand the lantern was introduced in 1954 and was marketed by Eleco in typical style.

"The 'UNIVERSAL 100' by Eleco is the first street lighting lantern to utilise cast "Perspex" tubing, incorporating a scientifically designed, machined "Perspex" prismatic formation and giving a symmetrical light distribution. This feature, together with its low cost and high efficiency, makes the UNIVERSAL 100  the most attractive proposition available."

It was designed for 100W GLS lamps only. The aluminium canopy looks to have three raised elements on the casting, which are very similar to the earlier Letchworth and Welwyn products.

The machined "Perspex" refractor was available both in open and enclosed configurations.

Do you know any further details on this lantern, or perhaps even have one in your collections? It must have been designed for a particular market, but perhaps orders for this product didn't materialise.

Anyway, I await your news with interest...

_________________
"As we moved along in a little procession, I was delighted with the illumination of the streets. So many lamps and they burned until morning, my father said, and so people did not need to carry lanterns."
Mary Antin - US author & activist. 1881-1949.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:13 pm 
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Following on from my previous posting, I think I had better explain my request for any further information on this lantern, such as where it was commonly found, and more importantly if any exist today?

Well, I think I can answer the latter question, for the very good reason that I believe I am now the proud owner of one. :D
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I came across it on eBay quite unintentionally a little while ago. It was listed as a "wartime munitions factory industrial light", and had apparently been salvaged from a mill in North Manchester. When I saw the photo, something seemed familiar with the cast canopy. I contacted the seller to confirm what the shade was made of - "plastic, I think" was the answer. The light had been subject to some cleaning up, however everything including the important refractor is in fine condition.

Obviously, with the huge industry now churning out some quite realistic repro "vintage" lighting, I wanted to be absolutely sure that this was the genuine article.

Hence the request for your help.

Anyway, having still drawn a bit of a blank in this respect, I have decided to pop some pics of the lantern. It is certainly an uncommon specimen, which might be why it is struggling to get some recognition from the lantern collectors out there!

The first thing to say about the Eleco 'Universal 100' is its size. If you compare it to my later HW838 "Ware", it is far more compact design.
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It still employs the 1" BSP threaded entry, however you will notice the main casting is a tapered hexagonal design, common to the previous incarnation of both the Ware and Letchworth lanterns.
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The reduced size of the canopy will no doubt be one of the sacrifices to produce such an economically priced lantern...

...along with the "Perspex" machined tubular refractor.
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The use of "Perspex" or Poly (methyl methacrylate), was not necessarily new to Eleco at this time, as their GoldenRay Mk lll had used it a little earlier in 1953.

It would however have been big news to produce a reliable ring refractor, without the need for expensive and vulnerable glassware. Mine is fitted with an "open" style refractor, however an enclosed version was also offered by Eleco.

The "Perspex" tube is retained via 3 screws into a cast alloy ring, which has three keyhole slots machined on its top flange.
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Each slot engages with a large slot head screw in the canopy lip, which is then tightened home.
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A standard porcelain B22 lampholder is fitted inside.
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There is no adjustment for focusing as it was designed for a 100W GLS lamp. A separate earth terminal screw is provided close by.

Suffice it to say, I think the lantern is too good to use outside, however it has found a new home - fitted with a 4W GLS LED bulb, it serves as my handy desk lamp (on a Stanton 7A swan neck bracket).
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If you know of any examples of the Eleco 'Universal 100' still in existence, I would be interested to hear from you.

Surely, they were used somewhere?

_________________
"As we moved along in a little procession, I was delighted with the illumination of the streets. So many lamps and they burned until morning, my father said, and so people did not need to carry lanterns."
Mary Antin - US author & activist. 1881-1949.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:24 pm 
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That's an excellent addition to your collection, and incredibly rare. I've never seen one before, although was aware of them from catalogues. I'm very surprised by its small size, especially when compared with other top entry lanterns.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:04 pm 
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Thanks for your kind comments, sotonsteve.

Yes, the Eleco 'Universal 100' does seem to be an incredibly uncommon fitting (and one which could have so easily been missed).

Granted, it looks like it has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life, however I'm not convinced it has had any major use (it might even be BNOS). If it has been in active service, you would think the "Perspex" tube would have some signs of heat damage, but again, this is in fine condition.

Anyway, it is always a pleasure to bring something a little different to the party!

Below is a photo showing it back home after I'd collected it. The purchase included the obligatory length of jack chain, a ceiling hook and some retro braided flex.


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_________________
"As we moved along in a little procession, I was delighted with the illumination of the streets. So many lamps and they burned until morning, my father said, and so people did not need to carry lanterns."
Mary Antin - US author & activist. 1881-1949.
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