Early Tilley PL53 clean up

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Alex74, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    AE64F915-A3C9-4C86-9968-38964067DC9C.jpeg 59E671B4-F034-4F6A-B36A-79E682FD6665.jpeg 570A089C-7F8F-44DE-9458-10C9944763B8.jpeg 80113EE6-E3D0-4C94-8756-3E6606066F34.jpeg As part of my Xmas fettling efforts, I’ve also started work on this late 1930s (?) PL53. The tank was very rough and covered with heavy oxidation that just wouldn’t shift with a dish scourer and hot soapy water. Decided to polish and let re-tarnish naturally. Good or bad idea? removing the heavy crust revealed a serial number too. Can anybody suggest a date from it? Money shot pic of this lantern on New Year’s Day if all goes well...

    by the way, what are those reddish marks on the brass? Is it ‘red rot’ (copper efflorescence)?
     
  2. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    Alex

    The number is a "Registered Design" number that Tilley had. It expired in 1937, but there are examples here at CCS of the Rd. number on tanks on lamps that appear to be later than 1937, so that the use of either the Rd. number or previously made tanks may have continued after 1937.

    Do you have a photo of the control cock off the lamp? It looks like an XN control cock? The XN control cock was used up to around 1940.


    Cheers

    Tony
     
  3. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    @Alex74
    That cleaned up well. Well done mate.
    Now the money shot ....
    Cheers
    Pete
     
  4. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Yeah...I’m also known by the neighbours as Jack the st-ripper for my Dremel cleaning work...

    ill take a close up of the stopcock in a minute....
     
  5. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Here’s the stopcock. There is some solder applied in proximity to the tap. I haven’t done a pressure test yet, so not sure if it leaks anywhere. Late 30s or very early 40s?

    5492D1CC-1FCC-4B2D-B345-43E2D6A456AB.jpeg
     
  6. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Tilley introduced the GF., control cock in 1940 and I would date your lamp to be from 1935 to late 1939.

    The build quality of the pre 1940 Tilley PL-53 lanterns is excellent and the link below shows information about Tilley control cocks and there are also links within that post which show more information.

    8 Tilley control cocks
     
  7. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Fantastic. Thanks Jeff. I’ve had a good luck at all the styles in that post. Very interesting indeed. I’ll pressure test tomorrow morning with a view to light her up in the evening. I’ll keep you posted!

    in the meantime today I’ve re-wired an old Young’s 20 Court central draught. Not exactly pressure driven but effective nevertheless!
     

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  8. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    You are welcome Alex!:thumbup:
     
  9. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Here’s the money shot. Not very bright initially but it gained brightness within 20 min....

    2A304AE9-60A3-4F9D-8799-44224537FF37.jpeg
     
  10. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I have also tried lighting for the first time a steel tank PL53 which was a bit of a Frankenstein lamp. Bits from different sources.... It works, but the mantle glows orange with a large flame halo around it. Brightness only marginally improved within 1 hour. New vapouriser or shall I try the quench method to clean it perhaps?

    E18E0EFC-57D9-49DC-9064-0F758798E10A.jpeg 778BCA85-134A-4FCF-82C6-75B87C4F8580.jpeg
     
  11. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    @Alex74
    The first PL53 runs a treat now, She seems to need the settling down. Well done mate.
    The second PL53, I reckon give the heat/quench method a try first, however the jet hole in the generator may be worn thus providing too rich a mixture. If this is the case ...... a replacement generator is on the cards.
    Could you try substituting a known working generator and testing it? This test may help to point you in the right direction.
    Cheers
    Pete
     
  12. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi Pete,

    yes, will try substituting the vapouriser with a working one and go by exclusion. Failing that, I’ll be hunting for a half decent 169 on the evil bay.... thanks for the advice, as always,
     
  13. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    88B4B4ED-2A96-4FCE-94E4-EF5D1216E9C6.jpeg 88B4B4ED-2A96-4FCE-94E4-EF5D1216E9C6.jpeg Oh dear.... New Year’s Eve with the neighbours. They just left. Lamps still going in the garden after 6 hours, with the exception of the KL80 witch loses pressure from the pump somehow.

    1882FEF0-FE17-403B-B062-4FB6DD811DEC.jpeg
     
  14. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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  15. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    Awesome light up there. However in the last picture all the fount’s look distressingly empty :content::lol:
    Happy and safe New Year to you and your family.
    Cheers mate
    Pete
     
  16. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thanks Pete. Happy New Year to your family too.

    ...the nice Blue etch Tilley Hendon globe I put on the PL53 with pre-heater has developed a crack. Sob sob... on later inspection I noticed there was a tiny hole in the mantle. I wonder if flame has impinged on that side of the globe and somehow stressed the glass. No signs of melting, but when I turned the lamp off at 4 am, I suddenly heard a ‘clink’ during the cooling stage, and noticed the globe had cracked.
     
  17. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hello Alex, a small hole in the mantle will crack a globe.
     
  18. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hmmm. Yep, thanks for confirming Jeff! You live and learn I guess. Considering I started collecting pressure lamps only 6 months ago, I’ve come a long way with fettling, lighting etc, but did not know about the effects of mantle holes!!
     
  19. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    @Alex74
    Sorry to hear that the globe has cracked. Mantle holes are a bugger and sometimes they’re hard to see, until it’s too late.
    Cheers
    Pete
     
  20. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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  21. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thanks guys. Very interesting. I’ll think of a way to ‘patch’ a pierced but newly installed good quality mantle....I’m thinking of glueing on a small piece of a new Chinese mantle!
     
  22. James K

    James K Subscriber

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    That is a shame about the hendon glass cracking, that is heartbreaking.
    I was once walking on air for a day when a lamp turned up with a nice teardrop hendon glass fitted, unfortunately in my haste to fit it to a more deserving lamp as the finishing touch i pulled something from the shelf and something else came with it and dropped onto said glass and smashed it. I had a long face for a while.
    I guess when you don't get the outcome you want, what you get is experience.
     
  23. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Smashing a teardrop early globe must have been a wrench. But then again, these things were almost disposable in their heyday. They must have been smashed, melted, cracked and replaced all the time. And Tilley profited from it all by selling thousands of replacements globes. Today even these globes have become collectors pieces and we get upset when they break of course, but in a way that is their destiny!
     
  24. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    The blue steel tank PL53 which flared has had a ‘new’ old vapouriser. Now works very well.

    E418954F-2290-4903-8A90-B95152350DB3.jpeg
     
  25. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    @Alex74
    Good news mate, she’s running well, I just love the PL53 and yours looks so good.

    I have a steel founted PL53, painted in army drab, that’s in my fettle queue .... Seeing yours running so well has just bumped mine up to the top of the fettle queue.
    Cheers
    Pete
     
  26. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    I think these are among the best lanterns Tilley made. They are such an eloquent looking lantern.
    I have three PL53's ranging from the early 1930's thru probably 1940; one PL55 dating from around 1937-40. All are great runners!
    Yours looks great! I don't have a steel tank model but will keep looking.
    :thumbup::thumbup::D/
     
  27. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi George,

    I picked the blue steel one up from the evil bay for £32 including a battered and bruised x246b which I then fettled on sold on. It didn’t come with a hood so I bought an old crusty brass hood for it and voila.
     

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