Lamp and lantern exhibit at Model Railroad Museum!

Old photo and advertisement show an electric Sport-Lite lantern.
Old photo and advertisement show an electric Sport-Lite lantern.

Personally, I love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. The massive train layouts and their realistic landscapes, tiny scale buildings, streets and fun details make me feel like a kid again.

During a recent visit, I was excited to see the museum had a fine exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns.

I took a few photos for you to enjoy and I added descriptive captions, but I suggest a visit in person. There’s so much to absorb, so much history and sheer fun!

You can see photos of the museum’s gigantic model train layouts here!

Exhibit inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, located near the N-Scale layout, shows old railroad lamps and lanterns, and recalls their history.
Exhibit inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, located near the N-Scale layout, shows old railroad lamps and lanterns and recalls their history.
Railroad lanterns were held by hand, and manual signals were used for night communication. Railroad lamps are mounted on train cars and railroad tracks.
Railroad lanterns were held by hand, and manual signals were used for night communication. Railroad lamps were mounted on train cars and railroad tracks.
Two examples of switch lamps. They were mounted to a railroad track switch and indicated the current position of the switch.
Two examples of switch lamps. They were mounted to a railroad track switch and indicated the current position of the switch.
Old diagram of an Adlake No. 1221 marker lamp.
Old diagram of an Adlake No. 1221 marker lamp.
Three models of old conductor's lanterns. Buck's Pattern, Daisy, and The Boss.
Three models of conductor’s lanterns: Buck’s Pattern, Daisy, and The Boss.
Three lantern hand signals: the train has departed, proceed, and apply the air brakes.
Three lantern hand signals: the train has departed, proceed, and apply the air brakes.
Three additional lantern hand signals: back up, stop, and release the air brakes.
Three additional lantern hand signals: back up, stop, and release the air brakes.
Over time signals and colors used for railroad communication became standardized. This sign describes what different color lights indicate.
Over the years signals and colors used for railroad communication became standardized. This sign describes what different colored lights indicate.
Fixed globe railroad lanterns began to be used in the 1840s. At night they allowed railroad workers to communicate.
Fixed globe railroad lanterns began to be used in the 1840s. At night they allowed railroad workers to communicate.
Marker lamps were hung on the train's caboose to identify the train and show where it ended.
Marker lamps were hung on the train’s caboose to identify the train and show where it ended.
A fascinating exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns is now on display in Balboa Park's unique San Diego Model Railroad Museum!
A fascinating exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns is now on display in Balboa Park’s amazing San Diego Model Railroad Museum!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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