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Lime light

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by renegadeblack, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Anyone know if it's still possible to use good old limelights, or anyone know what they're made of?
     
  2. wfor

    wfor Member

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    Lime lights are made with a piece of Calcium Carbonate, which is electrified in a vaccuum of I think hydrogen and oxygen (maybe nitrogen?). From what I understand, they were bright but not pretty. And very, very old.
     
  3. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Hmm, I looked it up some more, I guess that it's rather hazardous to try. I thought it was just a mere chemical reaction sort of like glow sticks. Never mind then :)
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Atually you can still obtain a small version of a lime light if you can find an Acetylene "miners lamp".
    Original Lime Lights were an acetylene flame focused on a peice of Limestone, the intense heat of the acetylene flame causes the limestone to reach it's temperature of incandecence at which point it gives off a slightly greenish, but realtivly bright light. The acetylene was obtained by dropping pellets of calcium carbide into a closed vessel containing water.

    Outside of the miners lamps which are often availible at Army surplus type places I have no Idea where you'd get a still working limelight, The calcium carbide pellets are often sold for replica cannon and the like, I believe the book "Backyard Balistics" has a couple of references for suppliers, as the hae a design for an acetylene powered spud cannon. I don't have my copy handy or I'd look it up for you.
    I'm not sure if I would try to build my own Limelight, however. The Limestone peice needs to be free of flaws or contaminents as the heat involved could cause it to crack and explode if substances other than limestone were present. Acetylene is not a totally safe substance eitherout side of it's very volatile nature, it's very heavy and displaces oxygen, which can lead to asphyxiation when it's played with in confined spaces. It's very explosive and a leak in the containment vessel could lead to a big boom.
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    ...and that kids is why theaters used to burn down all the time!
     
  6. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Demonstrations 19
    With the advent of the "Hydrogen Economy" they could make a comeback, certainly brighter than LEDs
     
  7. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    I was suggested by my english teacher that when we do Pirates of Penzance, it might be interesting to try some period lighting for the show, but that's looking like a no. One thing that I am interested in trying is possible some footlights from it's 80's(?) revival.
     
  8. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    There is a BBC series called "the worst jobs in history", in which they re-created a limelight spotlight, I have a limelight unit which came out of an old spotlight but there could be insurance "issues" in using it.
     
  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Foot lights are a great way to get a "traditional" feel to a show. there are a couple of threads on here detailing a couple of different ways to go about creating them. As far as getting an overall feeling for limelight into the show you could always just gel the lights with an extremely light green. almost all the gel manufacturers have a Limelight color.
     
  10. iLightTheStage

    iLightTheStage Active Member

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    I was TRYING to remember what show it was that I caught that on the other day! It was an excellent explanation of the use of limelight! And it is here on youtube: YouTube - The Worst Jobs in History - Christmas Special - Part 4
     
  11. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Dude, that's awesome! Something I will certainly be avoiding. My chem teacher allows us to stay after with her to make thermite, I wonder if she'd be willing to do a lime light...
     
  12. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    I don't remember the exact time (1881 from hurried research) but the Savoy theatre had electric lighting so "pirates" was probably lit by electric light at some stage prior to 1900.

    The first run of Pirates was not in the Savoy but later runs were.

    Also remember they probably only used mostly primary colours there probably weren't subtle colours. I wonder if they were using Gelatin filters at that time? Probably but does anyone know?
     
  13. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    Very interesting. It continues for about a minute in part 5. [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYUcPsn3XVw[/media]

    I cant believe that they lit the balloons on stage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  14. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Yeah, I was looking around and apparently carbon arc came around just before the 1900's so it was probably just the time for them to maybe be used.

    Something I'm interested in is that it seemed as they were saying that the foot lights in that video were also gas lights? Was that all that they had, gas lights and then carbon arc follow spots? I don't intend to go to the extremity of using gas lights, but I definitely plan on using some foot lights. I have some strip lights that I was thinking could probably be used as footlights. Yes? No?
     
  15. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    I am not sure if the Spotlights were Carbon Arcs but a quick search shows the theatre used incandescent bulbs of the Swan type.

    For a long time until electricity took off they would have used gas footlights.
    You could use your strip lights as foot lights. You could make a false front to hide them with painted scroll work etc.

    Getting back to gas I believe that is why in the British commonwealth countries not sure about the US the lighting pipes are the size they are. The story goes as the theatres had all these gas pipes already hanging they used them to hang the new electric lights off.

    Apparently the individual lamps were dipped in a colured laquer.
     
  16. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    Early gas lights were just fish tail burners which produced good light only because the gas was very impure and these impurities burnt to give light, and soot.Around the time the first electric lights hit the market, the gas "mantle" was invented and this gave gas lighting a boost as it was better and cheaper.Gas lighting was used in England until the sixties, especially as emergency lighting, my own home was gas-lit until about 1955.
    Carbon arc lights were used in theatres around 1900's and coloured glass was the colouring medium, filament lamps tended to be lacquered.
     

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