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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Identify please


auchonvillerssomme
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I don't know what they are, but I can tell you what they're not.

They're not horseshoes.

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Predictable, but I find that strangley comforting.

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My first impression is that they're lantern bodies but they're rather chunky for that unless they were used by miners, who wouldn't want a falling piece of stone to smash their light.

Keith

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I thought that but there was no sign of glass. There were 4 of them.

Mick

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I presume, then, that there is no provision for mounting anything in or around the gaps? If they're not lantern bodies, I think they're something protective - say something breakable was put inside for delivery or that kind of thing.

Keith

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Shell Cradles????

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Looks like a pair of lamps to me. Safety Lanterns would have had mesh to stop flame propergation, and no glass. The Davey lamp being the most well known of course.

Alan

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Guy's,

Yeah, look, I am also with the lamp frames.

And..... the one on the right is a HORSESHOE :P:lol:

I couldn't resist.

Cheers Andy.

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Looks like a pair of lamps to me. Safety Lanterns would have had mesh to stop flame propergation, and no glass. The Davey lamp being the most well known of course.

Alan

True but the mesh isn't just wrapped around the body, Alan. There is a "nest" of several layers of very fine mesh close to the flame which absorbs the heat from the flame and, as you say, stops the flame from propagating through to any flammable gas present. Miners' safety lamps do have a glass cylinder outside the mesh to protect the flame from draughts, btw.

As it's unlikely there would be any methane present in chalk or earth excavations practically any naked flame would alert the workmen to a build-up of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide (aka choke damp in the coal mines I knew) because it would go out but I'm not sure that would be soon enough to get them out safely. Did they have canaries, I wonder? Until the nineties and the invention of reliable gas monitors, all coal mines had to keep canaries for use in emergencies since the birds' metabolism means they need more oxygen and become unconscious much sooner than humans.

The NCB's newspaper - Coal News - used to have a cartoon character who illustrated safety issues by getting injured in some new and inventive way each issue. He was known as Davy Lump! :lol:

Keith

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True, but only in later improved lamps. The original Davey lamp was ecased in mesh and did not have glass, nor any mesh to absorb heat. A simple mesh lamp is very effective at preventing wind blowing out the flame, even if the light output is very poor.

A man I worked with, many years ago, had a party trick which showed the excellent properties of cotton underpants.

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True, but only in later improved type type lamps. The original Davey Lamp had a full mesh cone, and no glass. The mesh, primarily to stop flame propergation, is supprisingly effective in preventing wind blowing out the flame, even if the restricted light output is very poor.

Safety lamps are used in other industries beside mining, petro chemical for instance being one.

I have had to use a similar contraption, with a tubular flame screen and half the mesh hinged, as a means of igniting asbestos torches when lighting off boilers. The flame needed to be kept, no use fumbling around with matches when the fires are out. The usuall British method was to use a Brasso tin full of diesel with a wick in the neck, placed in a 20L paint drum.

Alan

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You're absolutely right that the very earliest safety lamps were considerably different to the type I was familiar with in British Coal days but the latter design had been standard for a very long time even by WW1 and was being produced by quite a few suppliers so I would not have thought that getting hold of them for War work would have been particularly difficult. If the miners needed them for anything it would have been for working in blind headings - excavations with only one way in and out (single means of egress in the jargon) - where the air quality might become poor if the blokes working the ventilation system weren't doing their job properly. It would not have been required for methane detection, which is a coal-mining problem, by and large. For most purposes, a candle in or out of a lantern would offer far better illumination and be just as safe to work with.

Going a bit off-topic, I reckon, and we're not really any closer to identifying the frames.....

Keith

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Well yhe horsehoe definately doesn't belong on a pit pony.

Mick

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Here's a long shot Mick.

The cages look like they hold some kind of ball. Could they be a non return valve that fits inside a hose, maybe for pumping out trenches?

John

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They were found close to Redan Ridge, they weren't associated with anything that would lead me to think they were valves. I have a sump and wide hose connection found elsewhere and they are smaller bore. The bore to fit these would have to be very wide.

Mick

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Have you got their dimensions? They don't have a holding or carrying handle that I'd expect to see on a lantern holder, and surely the metal bands midway would block out the light? Their base - if it is that - doesn't seem very wide, so given their diameter you couldn't put anything very tall in them (the centre of gravity being high would cause it to fall over). Since the base is concave and shallow they seem intended to be used on a level surface. Protective holders for Device X, which came in fours? Either that, or it had four legs.

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About 14inches tall 3.5inches diameter. each end was slightly different which would suggest a 'right way up'

Mick

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With the 'horse' element in the equation with the shoe on the right I wondered if the device could be a fumigator, with a candle supplying gentle heat to the bowl at the top. This method can still used for croup in children, using a similar device, and horses can have equal breathing difficulties. [Or even equine ones]. This time the musing is supplied by Tetleys!

Phil.

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