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Old, Old lighting fixtures?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gafftapegreenia, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Whats the oldest fixture anyone has seen/used? For instance, take the Olivette. I've seen drawings and old Kliegl literature, but has anyone seen one or have recent pixtures? I saw some boxfloods at an old local, nonprofit theatre, but since I wasn't there to do lighting I wasn't able to get a closer look. Of course, alot of people, myself included, have experience with the old A-lamp/reflector/roundel striplight, but whos seen or used the old trough version? Additionally, old plano-convex spots pop up on eBay, often by manufacturers no ones ever heard of. I'm curious as to how these old lights look, its so hard to find examples of the earliest electric lights. So, whats the oldest fixture you've recently found yourself around?
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Old century(pre-century-strand merger) radial lekos with the grey, flakey paint, old strand fresnels and R40 strips of the same vintage.

    We have one old, old, old kleigl light up in the catwalks just to remind people how nice source fours are. It's a monster probably about 12" diameter and 22" long, narrowing down to a 6" or so opening, with a radial reflector/lamp socket arrangement that takes monstrous lamps.
     
  3. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    i've seen some real oldies (my middle school's theater was built in the 1920's and some of the instruments are still surviving and functional) if you want to know more just google for books about the history of lighting, they are out there. don't expect to find much on concert lighting however, it's not a very well documented field.
     
  4. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    Too many old ones to even think about...

    The best book out there, imo, that is a good reference book about this subject is called "Photometrics Handbook" by Robert C. Mumm. It has just about every theatrical light fixture ever made in it with lamp, electrical, and photometric info about it. Now it's not so up to date on the moving lights, but those come out so often now, any book is going to be out of date before it gets to the printers.
     
  5. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    If you're ever in Southwestern New York stop by and see us. Our instrument inventory is almost completely vintage. Approx. 1930-85
     
  6. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    When I read the thread title I thought you were talking about me....
     
  7. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Two elephants and a cymbal died for the above comment.

    As for my stuff...we have a couple Altman 360's, with aesbestos wiring, I think. (Not the Q). Other than that...well, I just don't know. Nothing like the 30's/40's you guys have though.
     
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  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, all of the century stuff with the grey, flakey paint that I had in HS was asbestos wiring, with old-style twistlocks.
     
  9. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Somewhere Around here I have an old handheld carbon arc lamp, I can only assume this was used in as some sort of flood fill from a wing posistion.. Sitting in the lobby of Hollywood Lights in Portland is a 1912 or 27 < can't remember right now> carbon arc spot, completely restored except for a ballast. The Theatre at Tsa La Ghi, where I worked several summers had tons, literally, of old klieg cannons. They were ERS's about 4' < that's feet> < about 1.2m> long and a good 16" in diameter, They had a hell of a throw, well over 100'. We also had old strips at that theatre that took stackable pieces of glass for colorizing, instead of roundels these were one inch by four inch peices of R,G,B,Y(amber) glass.I'd like to ask, how many people have ever pulled the trick of sending an intern or newbie to go "wash" real old fashioned gels ?
     
  10. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I just remembered that the theatre we rented to do our musical at last year had two old Carbon Arc Strong Super Troopers. They didn't use them, instead they used their brand new Lycians. :) This was a highschool and their head tech person, who has been working their for at least 30 years, said he'd fire them up just to show me, but we never got arond to it. Their FOH catwalk was fun too. Everything from old Capital Radials, and Kliegl Radials to 360Q's and Source 4's. Additionaly, they had about a dozen 18" scoops sitting in one corner that they replaced with new L&E cycs, and another dozen or so old 8" fresnels they no longer used. On stage was also a mixtures of Source 4's, 360Q's, and what looked like three "generations" of fresnels. (I know that fresnels don't change but you could tell they were made in different decades)

    Thanks for the tip about the Handbook, I'll have to pick one up.
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    For those of you who go to USITT (or are this week) usually the people from strong bust out some vintage spot lights and fire them up. When the ballast connects via cam locks, you know you have some power.
     
  12. btfilms

    btfilms Member

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    Hey! At my high school we have have about 50 year old lights. we have all twist lock connections and some weird connection i have never seen its some sort of twist lock but in a different form. we have this one spot that looks like a HUGE Leko on a tripod base. ill try to get some pictures and post them so you can all laugh at it. it really is huge and ugly. also we have these strip lights that use like regular light bulbs but with a long stem. i am not sure what kind these are are but they are big and bulky as well. and they only have one connection to it. for 12 lights on the strip. it's weird. i sure we have much more older things that i haven't came across yet but if i do ill take pictures and post them as well.
     
  13. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    A few books that doccument such old fixtures, I can provide a list of books to search for. Nothing modern however ... no real good Dover type books on early stage lighting, much less stage lighting history at the moment that I remember. Perhaps one that I forget and would have to search for. Best concept is eyes and ears open and not passing up the chance even for a duplicate book you have if earlier edition. Amazing the difference even in "A Method of Lighting the Stage" between the 1949 version and 1972 version. The 1949 version has the classic versions box light and some plano convex lights, the 1972 has the radial Lekos replacing them. Just got my 1929 version of Fuchs in from Amazon.... gonna be a good read.

    Ditto with me on these types of carbon arc spot and often incandescent lamped rectangular box lights to old theaters of the 1920's experienced, plus long and heavy strip lights, index and foot lights left over from the origional days when the theater was built. For the most part I did my best to preserve them but didn't have much time available to play test them.

    This one PC fixture without it's lens I enherited as the fly rail light.... to which I quickly replaced. Seems it's outlet was a un-grounded non-polorized twist lock plug, and there was a short from the neutral to ground in the fixture. Plug it in correct, it works just fine I was advised. Plug it in backwards and it electrified the grid, much less if you touched a pipe to the rail, it would do great sparks I found out. By way of inheriting stuff like that, seems over the say last 30 years of use in the life in this fixture, nobody before me ever considered re-wiring the fixture and changing the outlet... For them, it was more a question of if it's doing sparks, just reverse how it's plugged in. Amazing - fixture was toast by way of wiring and rust. Possibly the only old fixture I ever threw out.

    Oldest fixture... perhaps in my case something I saw way up in the ceiling arch of the same theater. It was a home made tin candle holder still hanging off a plaster support bar as used during the construction of the theater. One wouldn't think such a 1920's construction would be using candles yet there it was in a dark area of the ceiling arch. I left it there and would hope future people climbing the arch would also for other generations to find.

    Designed a few shows with 4.1/2" PC fixtures, it's interesting and at times depends upon the fixture a lot... I also own some older lights from mostly about the 1960's including my Kliegl Dyna Beam. Still has an origional 3,000 Watt incandescent lamp that works, and origional gell in the boomerang.

    Over the weekend I was servicing fifteen 1960's Fresnels in bringing them up to 65Q standards... next up on the list, like twenty Altman 101' Plano-Convex fixtures from about the same period of time.

    Old fixtures are always interesting for me. You can learn a lot from them be it the taped solder line splices in a cyc to the sheet metal work in how it was done.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've got a set of four Century fresnels from maybe the 50's in my garage. One of these days I'm going to do the remodel and build my dream rec-room. I'm going to rewire them and use them to light the room.


    One of the coolest displays at LDI this fall was Vari-Lite's booth. They had every model they have made on display. The best being the one and only VL-0 that they used for that legendary demo for Genesis one cold night in a barn in 1981. They had the cover off and there sure wasn't much to it on the inside. They say it still works but it's not exactly show worthy anymore.
     
  15. Sylak

    Sylak Member

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    The TV Studio in my school uses old HUB Electric Scoops with Edison plugs, definably the oldest fixtures ive used thus far.

    Although, i have no idea when they're from but from before mid 80's when HUB liquidated
    (probably form 60's from when the school was built, but then again they were probably used from the Middle School which was the High School at the time)
     
  16. taylorjacobs

    taylorjacobs Member

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    a couple of years ago we had a theatre festival in a really old theatre and they had 3 carbon arc spots. they were fully functional and still used them it was pretty cool
     
  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I don't remember if I posted it on here or not. I was talking With Gordon Pearlman one night before a tech rehearsal, he was telling me some stories and related this little known fact to me. Did you know the original varilite was not intended to be a "moving light" it was a light that you could "re-focus" during a show but it was meant to be static. It was purely by mistake that somebody left the shutters open on one when they were demo-ing them to Genesis . Somebody say "Cool", and the rest is history.

    Sorry hijack over.
     
  18. church

    church Active Member

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    check out the Strand archive at www.strandarchive.co.uk It shows a history of the Strand fixtures. I have used the old Strand 1kW barrel floods (acting area flood) these were already old when I was a kid in the 60s. I have also used floods and spots made by Major in the 40s and I own some radial Lekos by strand and electro controls that are pretty old but still work well. A lot of the old stuff was built like a battleship and withstands all sorts of abuse. I also have painful memories of running shows with Resistance boards that used locking dimmers onto shafts for the Master and lengths of broom handle. We used to get really hot with 36 channels of 2.4kW resistance dimming and no air conditioning.

    I also once owned a souvenir from an old theatre - a salt water dimmer. They were glazed clay pipe filled with a concentrated salt solution and the operator lowered a copper rod into the salt water to change the light intensity. It was about 30 inches long.

    The main thing is we had some good laughs.
     
  19. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what make they are but I recently acquired a set of dismountable footlights from an old town hall built in the 1920's. They each have a three pin panel mount plug one side and a socket the other and you simply keep stacking them until you have enough. Recipe for nightmare. The old town hall apparently originally had Mercury bath dimmers which lasted into the 1960's. The lanterns take standard Edison screw 150 or 200 watt globes. I haven't tried to use them yet. I'm still trying to figure out how to test them for electrical safety.
     
  20. mattm

    mattm Member

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