Vintage Lighting Carbon Arc carbons

RonHebbard

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Waterdown, ON, CA
Can't say I ever had one shatter while running even with rain, but re-trims did at least two in over the years. Had two spots with metal and six with glass. Glass always seemed a bit brighter, but that may have been the power of suggestion.
IMO, the silvered glass reflectors ALWAYS out-shone the polished metal reflectors with operators who cared, giving them a quick wipe with virtually EVERY trim change coupled with a thorough cleaning monthly. Anytime a performance was to be nationally televised, the network LD's would have us optimize all four then lay full body shots in order across the asbestos (Yes, REAL asbestos) then measure both the direct beams as well as their reflected intensities off the asbestos. Time and time again, the carbon supers left the 1K6 xenons in the dust. We normally kept 1, new in box, spare silvered glass reflector in stock and a pair of used, but well cared for, polished metal reflectors just in case a 'ham-handed' visiting op' had the misfortune to drop a glass reflector but, I can't recall ever doing any seriously measured comparisons of the metal vs. the glass.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

PhysicsGirl

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Worcester, MA
I have about 100 arc carbon rods which you are welcome to have. Most are 155 mm long, diameter is 5 mm. If you are not close to Worcester, MA, you'd need to pay for postage.
 

ship

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These are the long life 12mm+ carbons I got in recently for a studio/movie wash light. Self leveling/maintaining the arc carbons. Have read about such carbon arc's that would self sustain by way of fixture mechanisms, never seen one and have not time to see the gizzards of this one. No doubt a technition can do better in why carbon arc follow spots are tech person maintained, but interesting given this technology is well over a hundred years old that the technology did not go further. Suspect xenon lamps the reason but that leaves like 60 years at least a gap in why not.
 

JD

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North Wales PA
Well Ship, that and the whole Ozone/Cancer thing.. ;)
Still, I have an almost romantic / nostalgic love of Carbon Arcs! Really loved the fullness of the light spectrum, especial the old supers!
As for PhysicsGirl, I am not sure what would use a 5mm carbon. Pretty sure the old AC troupers were 6mm, and of course the DC supers took the Orotip 6mm negative and Suprex 7mm positive. Seen a lot bigger carbons, but don't remember the 5mm size.
 
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JonCarter

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Meridian, Idaho, US
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These are the long life 12mm+ carbons I got in recently for a studio/movie wash light. Self leveling/maintaining the arc carbons. Have read about such carbon arc's that would self sustain by way of fixture mechanisms, never seen one and have not time to see the gizzards of this one. . . .

Ship, Way back when I worked at an outdoor theatre and we had a pair of similar "photographic" arc lights. (Don't know why; they were kinda useless for theatre lighting.) We used them for work lights when we needed to work at night. The carbons were held in contact by a spring mechanism and the feed was controlled by a solenoid in series with the arc. As arc current increased the solenoid pulled the carbons apart; as current decreased the solenoid's pull lessened and the arc became shorter. Negative feedback system with some damping so they didn't "hunt." They were self-striking, too. There were two arcs in each reflector and they were more compact than the units you pictured but yours probably use a similar system.
 

ship

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Thanks much for the notes on the TBA project. Fixture was posted before in a "what's this" post, and I knew this concept of self sustaining carbon arcs was high technology for the time - by at least 1916 it as a concept was advertised. Any idea of when the concept of self sustaining carbon arc's was invented? 1904 Iriquos fire was started by way of non-maintined carbon arc wash lights similar in design or at least concept to these. Granted it's theorized that it was less about a sustained arc and more about the impurities in the carbon arc materials which caused the spark to a near by drape.

Have not had time to go to the Chicago Historical Society yet which own's the fixture which started the fire. This to see if it's self sustaining, or if the stage tech... who during the show is blamed with responsibility for the fire - out in the back lot on a smoking break in not attending to his fixture.

If self sustaining carbon arc wash light in use, that tech person might have been board and thought he didn't need to attend to his arc's. But if impurities in the carbon's sputtering and sparking, yea he should have been at his post to put out the fire, but better quality carbon arc doping should have been the point of blame instead of this tech person who was also at fault. A thought or perhaps a concept for perspective MFA students to study.

just interesting history point theorized.
 
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EdSavoie

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Oct 19, 2016
Location
Windsor, ON, Canada
To drag this thread into 2019, an LD I'm working with for a production of Annie acquired an AC Strong Trouper, along with an old box of the 6mm carbons. Mechanically it's in excellent shape, though the 115v transformer gets grumpy very quickly at higher settings with our modern service running closer to 125v...


To anyone maybe less informed, or viewing this thread from the wonders of Google SEO, the presence of the "magic mineral" as well as the exhaust fumes from these are serious hazards that should be addressed.

Also, don't be *that person* who operates it with the side panel off. Unless you like arc flash and UVA/B/C burns.

Glad to see that there's at least one supplier making the carbon rods economically available!

(Handsome fellow you see in the shot on the left is not me. My hand is however visible holding the carbons!)

Before someone says it, i know there's 15 years between when Annie takes place, and the first Troupers, but I think it's a nice touch to the live radio studio scene.
 

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RonHebbard

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Waterdown, ON, CA
To drag this thread into 2019, an LD I'm working with for a production of Annie acquired an AC Strong Trouper, along with an old box of the 6mm carbons. Mechanically it's in excellent shape, though the 115v transformer gets grumpy very quickly at higher settings with our modern service running closer to 125v...


To anyone maybe less informed, or viewing this thread from the wonders of Google SEO, the presence of the "magic mineral" as well as the exhaust fumes from these are serious hazards that should be addressed.

Also, don't be *that person* who operates it with the side panel off. Unless you like arc flash and UVA/B/C burns.

Glad to see that there's at least one supplier making the carbon rods economically available!

(Handsome fellow you see in the shot on the left is not me. My hand is however visible holding the carbons!)

Before someone says it, i know there's 15 years between when Annie takes place, and the first Troupers, but I think it's a nice touch to the live radio studio scene.
Nice! I'm sorry to notice the knobs missing from the top and bottom shutter and the iris.
We had an old Trouper in an area high school and a newer Trouper in a newer high school built in 1970.
Thanks for the memories.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
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ship

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Got some modern 1/2" carbons sent to me - a package of them. Yet to try the fixture, and sad had to send it to a storage building in ready to test. Too busy and intimidated by it.

Very interesting, starting at P.26 of the 1916 Chicago Stage Lighting catalogue (on wikkee catalogue reference), it lists a "Studio Lamps" lighting fixture similar to this. It is much safer than the one I have, think will work, but have not done... Interesting for me the three coils/taps are described - I was thinking voltage related, but they describe the single coil is for manual feed. I don't see any way to do this on my fixture safely short of asbestos gloves. Interesting, but still thinking the un-tapped coil is more about voltage in a past described discussion. Interesting though the note read tonight.... cannot imagine how to self adjust especially given half the resistance for this fixture though given that single coil concept to tap.

Also notes a 90 degree angle to the carbon arc light strike in being more efficient in the 1916 Chicago Stage Lighting catalogue.... Never seen such a concept before, (90 degree opposed carbon arc focus,) but clearly explains their hood shape.
 

RonHebbard

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Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
He actually has the top knobs!

Somewhere...

He took them off so he could get inside and properly clean out the assembly and realign everything, then misplaced the knobs somewhere in his shop.
@EdSavoie Does "he" have one of the comparatively rare glass UV accessory filters that bolted on the exterior of the colour holder assembly, pivoted downwards rotating on its single mounting bolt and was manually rotated up in front of the beam with a small slot machined into it's metal frame which slid slightly past its C of G and rested on a second bolt? When no longer required, you rotated it off its supporting bolt and allowed it to hang down below the beam where gravity kept it danglng out of harms way. The older Trouper in Westdale high school had the optional glass UV filter as described. I don't recall the newer Trouper in Sir John A. McDonald ever having the optional UV filter but I believe I recall borrowing the filter from Westdale for an amateur production in Sir John A.

When Westdale was built, Lord only knows how many decades ago, ventilation for the carbon arc's fumes was provided in the ceiling of the small projection booth.
By the time Sir John A opened in 1970, no additional ventilation was provided, the school board included an incandescent Strand 1.5 K which was often lamped up to 2.0 Kw by a local amateur musical group when ever they felt the need. The head of John A's English department insisted on having a carbon arc spot and the school board purchased a brand new Trouper in approximately 1971 but neither ordered the optional UV filter NOR had any additional ventilation added.
I suppose that's not too surprising. A few years later, portions of John A. were sealed off and removed from service while asbestos was removed from the entire school, the operation taking approximately six months during the school year while students and staff were in attendance. Some of the removal and refinishing work was accomplished overnight, I can recall lighting a three weekend amateur run with paid patrons entering via a the auditorium's entrance lobby while the lobby, and the corridor to the public washrooms, were draped in translucent poly-plastic sheets with, what else, cheap 'n cheerful, oh so economical, silver / grey duct tape. Neither real metalized foil duct tape nor real gaffer's tape but smaller 2" wide economy rolls marketed with home handymen in mind.
Again, thanks for the memories.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
 

EdSavoie

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Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Location
Windsor, ON, Canada
@EdSavoie Does "he" have one of the comparatively rare glass UV accessory filters that bolted on the exterior of the colour holder assembly, pivoted downwards rotating on its single mounting bolt and was manually rotated up in front of the beam with a small slot machined into it's metal frame which slid slightly past its C of G and rested on a second bolt? When no longer required, you rotated it off its supporting bolt and allowed it to hang down below the beam where gravity kept it danglng out of harms way. The older Trouper in Westdale high school had the optional glass UV filter as described. I don't recall the newer Trouper in Sir John A. McDonald ever having the optional UV filter but I believe I recall borrowing the filter from Westdale for an amateur production in Sir John A.

When Westdale was built, Lord only knows how many decades ago, ventilation for the carbon arc's fumes was provided in the ceiling of the small projection booth.
By the time Sir John A opened in 1970, no additional ventilation was provided, the school board included an incandescent Strand 1.5 K which was often lamped up to 2.0 Kw by a local amateur musical group when ever they felt the need. The head of John A's English department insisted on having a carbon arc spot and the school board purchased a brand new Trouper in approximately 1971 but neither ordered the optional UV filter NOR had any additional ventilation added.
I suppose that's not too surprising. A few years later, portions of John A. were sealed off and removed from service while asbestos was removed from the entire school, the operation taking approximately six months during the school year while students and staff were in attendance. Some of the removal and refinishing work was accomplished overnight, I can recall lighting a three weekend amateur run with paid patrons entering via a the auditorium's entrance lobby while the lobby, and the corridor to the public washrooms, were draped in translucent poly-plastic sheets with, what else, cheap 'n cheerful, oh so economical, silver / grey duct tape. Neither real metalized foil duct tape nor real gaffer's tape but smaller 2" wide economy rolls marketed with home handymen in mind.
Again, thanks for the memories.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.

I'm not sure if this one has said addon filter actually, I'll need to ask if that's among the treasure trove that came with it.