Tilley PL53

Discussion in 'PL52-PL53-PL54' started by Nick Thurgood, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. Nick Thurgood

    Nick Thurgood United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I have just purchased a Tilley PL53 lantern to add to my collection. I am hoping that someone will be able to help me date this lamp. It would appear to have a Brass tank but I am unable to find any identification letters or numbers.
    Could someone recommend a way to clean the tank without me using any abrasives on the tank to try and remove some of the staining from the tank?
    Also some advice on the two side handle supports - When they are screwed finger tight they do not align properly (they go too far round, hope that makes sense!) By carefully bending the eye part I have managed to separate the handle and my question is this-should the screw bush slide around the wire? They don't appear to be welded but before I put them in a vice and tap with a rubber mallet with a wood block to protect the end where they screw on the font are they meant to be fixed in place?

    IMG_0356.JPEG IMG_0357.JPEG IMG_0358.JPEG IMG_0359.JPEG IMG_0360.JPEG IMG_0361.JPEG IMG_0362.JPEG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2019
  2. KAB

    KAB Subscriber

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    Nice sturdy lamp.

    Happy to be corrected by others more knowledgeable ........

    Date - later 1930's, pre war, second version, 1st one has arms coming straight up from the tank. Date markings didn't appear until the 50's

    The ends of the arms, IMG_0361, are more like nuts, or 'screw bush' and should rotate on the arms, so yo can align them and then tighten them down to give you the correct arm position.

    With respect to the staining of the paint..... maybe some T-cut and polish???

    Happy fettling.
     
  3. Mackburner

    Mackburner United Kingdom Founder Member Subscriber

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    1940 to 1945. The GF cock was introduced in 1940 and the handle fitting type also changed to the union nuts that year but not at exactly the same time and the PL53 was replaced in 1946 with the first Pork Pie X246. The unions do jam up and appear to be fixed but were always intended to rotate to locate the handle correctly. Some easing oil and gentle persuasion should free them off. Looks to be in nice condition. I would just wash it and maybe apply a clear lacquer but after 70 years the staining may not remove easily. How it looks is part of its history but it's your lamp and you must do what you think best for you. ::Neil::
     
  4. ColinG

    ColinG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    All it needs is a globe and wire frame and you're done! Nice find.
     
  5. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    A fine restoration project!:thumbup:
     
  6. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    Well found @Nick Thurgood
    It’s in pretty good nick and will be aN excellent restoration project.
    The PL53s are solid work horses and I reckon they’re quite good looking too. If your looking, the globe and cage can be bought from the bay of evil. You could try “Juliands” or “Hootflipflopandfly”.
    Enjoy your fettle.
    Cheers
    Pete
     
  7. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    Love those PL53 lanterns!;):thumbup:
     
  8. KAB

    KAB Subscriber

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    I would have popped along the coast to Base_Camp.co.uk for the globe but they've moved to new premises a few hours north.
     
  9. BigStevie

    BigStevie United Kingdom Subscriber

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    A good lamp, my favourite Tilley lantern. Enjoy the fettle!
     
  10. Alex74

    Alex74 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi Nick,

    that’s a fine lamp you’ve got there. It seems free of dents with the original paint almost intact. I would leave it as it is. I recently bought 2 PL53s with the original paint well and truly gone through scratches and verdigris efflorescence. I felt the best solution was to polish back to bare brass and let the metal tarnish naturally (it should take 5-10 years I reckon). This should restore an attractive, even patina to the tank. Please send photos of your lamp when lit up! Good find!
     
  11. X246A

    X246A United Kingdom Subscriber

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  12. Nick Thurgood

    Nick Thurgood United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thank you to everyone who replied.
    Restoration is coming along well. I have to take my time these days as I have sight issues. Have managed to free off the legs so will straighten these in a bench vice hopefully.
     
  13. KAB

    KAB Subscriber

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    By straighten, can I take it that you mean bend slightly more so the stand vertically after the existing bend and not 'straight' ?
     
  14. Nick Thurgood

    Nick Thurgood United Kingdom Subscriber

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    One of the legs of the frame has previously been bent into almost a curved shape, so after a little settling in a vice and careful use of a small hammer I have been able to more of less reshape the leg as it should be.

    Now I have discovered the the tank leaks under pressure around one of the mounting lugs! So I will have to try and find someone who can hopefully solder around this joint as it is beyond my capabilities.
     
  15. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    On the later (last) PL53's the rods came out of the tank at oblique angles. In other words they were not "straight" like earlier ones. These are great old lanterns!
    :content::thumbup:
     
  16. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    Yours is in real nice shape. Stop the leak and you have a real stunner!
    :D/
     
  17. MG

    MG United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @Nick Thurgood

    You could possibly fill the tank with water, wrap some wire around the leaking lug and hang the lamp from it so that it is hanging square so to speak (it might need to be hung equally from both lugs) and with a blow torch try and get the original solder to run and reseal the joint, i know you can do it with Tilley table lamps that leak around the fuel filler neck so might work on this too.
     
  18. Nick Thurgood

    Nick Thurgood United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thank you for this suggestion. I had never thought of this method. I have a g gas torch so I will give it a go.
    Can see around the lugs where it looks like the paint is broken, so I am thinking that in the past when the arms got bent this may have cracked the solder joint.
     
  19. paparazi

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    There is something very nostalgic about the way the PL53 looks. Quite unique .. at this time of the year I always imagine the shape being used on Christmas cards with carol singers or scene's of old fashioned snow covered thatched cottages with one standing in the window..lol..lovely lamp mate.
     
  20. Jean J

    Jean J Subscriber

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    You old romantic, you.
     
  21. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    Brings tears to your eyes....:cry:;)
     
  22. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    So does cutting onions ...........:cry:

    But @paparazi is right, the PL53s are an iconic and genteel lantern.

    For me it conjures up a vision of cold winter nights with the PL53 lighting and warming the room as I recline and read whilst sipping a Jack Daniel and ice ......... Yeah, I know us Neanderthals like to beat rocks with heavy sticks and drink Jack Daniels. :lol:

    Cheers
    Pete
     

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