forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

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Nicks garage
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forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by Nicks garage » Mon May 11, 2020 22:26

First off I would like to say hi and thanks for accepting me into the forum, I joined because I bought my self an old Forest city temporary traffic light that I have been restoring.

My personal connection is that my great great grandfather started forest city back in 1902 and my great grandfather too over the business, I used to go to the factory in timperley Manchester quite often with my mum,

Here is an original Advert from one of the first crossings with my great grandparents, my grandfather pushing the button and great uncle in the pram

Don’t know how to add. Picture?

With my restoration I have struggled to understand why the lights had such a strange fastener if anyone can help?

The you tube link shows part of my restoration and how I made the fastener, if anyone can give me any pointers I would massively appreciate it or wants any information from my side

https://youtu.be/1_4rFmxvyn4
Last edited by Nicks garage on Sat May 16, 2020 18:20, edited 1 time in total.

Nicks garage
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by Nicks garage » Mon May 11, 2020 22:45

77ACCF19-5EE9-4863-AC7E-422A849960EB.jpeg
9FDE7363-33DD-450B-83BE-532387B6C5E6.jpeg
Sorry the pictures are not great I had to use the front facing camera but the show what I wanted.
That’s an original advert,

I also have a photocopy of a later version of the crossing

Conekicker
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by Conekicker » Mon May 11, 2020 23:02

Nice video, you're to be commended.

I'd imagine the fastener was designed like that to make it both robust and fixed in such a way that it didn't fall off if the head was opened on site to change a bulb. If it wasn't fastened, I could see it easily being lost.
Patience is not a virtue - it's a concept invented by the dozy beggars who are unable to think quickly enough.

Nicks garage
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by Nicks garage » Mon May 11, 2020 23:06

Thanks so much for your reply, what’s your opinion on a total a total restoration? Or should I leave as is now.

I have ordered the board to get the lights working in the correct sequence

Conekicker
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by Conekicker » Tue May 12, 2020 07:04

Nicks garage wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 23:06
Thanks so much for your reply, what’s your opinion on a total a total restoration? Or should I leave as is now.

I have ordered the board to get the lights working in the correct sequence
If you can get the bits, why not? If you've got contacts at Forest City, perhaps they could advise on certain aspects (pun not intended) :D
Patience is not a virtue - it's a concept invented by the dozy beggars who are unable to think quickly enough.

Nicks garage
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by Nicks garage » Tue May 12, 2020 21:57

I have made a slight mistake with the lights description, I assumed the were forest city signs lights but after a closer look they have a plate on them with forest city electric co ltd on them, so this makes them an earlier light,

Unfortunately The company has been sold a couple of times since my grandparents had it and I have no other connection to anyone with information, I can’t seem to find when the company changed names to try and date them, they do have a crest on the badge also,

Is anyone able to help? Link added below to show the badge in detail, thanks in advance for any help

https://youtu.be/raH4Ow928bU

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traffic-light-man
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by traffic-light-man » Sat May 16, 2020 12:45

Hi Nick, welcome to SABRE.

Interesting history you have there with Forest City, one of the pioneers of early Traffic Signals in the UK! I imagine you're probably aware, but Forest City was eventually Signature Signs, which has now in-turn been acquired by Mallatite.

Despite the initial photograph on their website being a Unipart Dorman wig wag, Mallatite still use the same design signal housing to this day for lanterns such as wig wags and airfield signalling.

Given your signal has Polycarbonate lenses and a Department of the Environment stamp (the tag you've pointed out there), it would suggest it sits somewhere in the 1970 to 1997 era. Here's an old brochure showing the portable signals, such as yours.

I don't think this style was ever placed in to service on public roads in a permanent capacity, though I'm not sure why - perhaps it was simply the ATE/Plessey and SGE/GEC had stolen the market entirely by the time Forest City developed these modular signal heads. I also think they're quite difficult to date, given how long they've been in production for without any significant changes in design.

I have one in much worse shape that yours (no visors, or amber/green lenses), however it's old enough not to have a detector and it does have a glass red lens, though otherwise looks identical to yours.

One thing I will say is check the actual lamps, there's a high probability that they'll be something other than 240v being portable, probably 110v!

Great project though, keep it up! You've also done some fantastic metalwork on the lathe creating a replica bolt as well, superb effort!
Simon :driving:

Nicks garage
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by Nicks garage » Sat May 16, 2020 14:29

Thanks so much for the information, I’m actually going to be working more on it this afternoon because the board has arrived to sort out the sequence control for the lights, I’m going to be leaving the existing system within the lights and rewire led bulbs in I think..

Could you give your opinion on an external restoration? I’m back and forth with what to do

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nowster
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by nowster » Sat May 16, 2020 16:34

I can't remember whether anyone's asked this before: why did a Stockport firm get called Forest City?

Nicks garage
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Re: New user, forest city traffic light restoration help needed please

Post by Nicks garage » Sat May 16, 2020 16:42

The firm was from Manchester not stockpot as far as I know, my grandparents, who owned to company lived in sale, Manchester, the company started in Manchester, then went to Stretford then timperley

As far as I know according to my gran my great great grandfather who started the company back in 1902 started it with an American who was from somewhere called forest city, he didn’t end up staying with the company but the name carried on

Nicks garage
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by Nicks garage » Sat May 16, 2020 18:21

Afternoon all, I have been working on the restoration today and got them up and running, still a bit to go yet but please watch the video,

Also Had a result... the wife said she’s happy for them to go in the garden

https://youtu.be/I0Br_2lsx3k

Conekicker
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by Conekicker » Sat May 16, 2020 19:41

Ah yes, receiving "Planning permission". Always tricky...
8-) :roll:
Patience is not a virtue - it's a concept invented by the dozy beggars who are unable to think quickly enough.

Nicks garage
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by Nicks garage » Sun May 17, 2020 11:52

The permission was the hardest part,, I think I’m going to lacquer the existing patina build a stand and put it in the garden

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traffic-light-man
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by traffic-light-man » Mon May 18, 2020 15:07

Great to see them cycling, Nick!

Regarding external restoration, I personally quite like the look of signals in their off-street condition, though I have painted two of my own heads previously.

One of my newest Tin heads seemed to suffer from bad blistering in the paint, so that got sanded and re-sprayed. The other one is my oldest Tin head, which wasn't in a particularly great condition when I got it, but sprucing it up a bit allowed me to repaint it in the original paint scheme and replace the (very scary) cloth wiring inside!
Attachments
IMG_20200518_150148.jpg
Simon :driving:

Nicks garage
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by Nicks garage » Mon May 18, 2020 15:44

The light above looks well,

I think I’m going to give mine a dusting of lacquer and put them in the garden as they are for now, and I can make a decision over time, I just need to make a stand for them but I may well just go for a shorter tripod

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Chris584
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by Chris584 » Tue May 19, 2020 01:01

That's a nice paint job there Simon. My ATM lights are currently black. I have two R-A-G heads, a primary and secondary, a filter light (left arrow), with white top & bottom, and the crossing light. I cannot see any traces of white on the wait/cross light, and I'm not sure about the R-A-Gs at the moment, as they're stored. I'm hoping to move house very soon, and they will be out on display somewhere. One of my SGE lights was, and now is black & white, (secondary visors), the other is a later one and is all black, but has no visors. I may fit lower wattage bulbs in them all if I use them indoors as the standard 65w bulbs are too bright. I'm contemplating making a "NO RIGHT TURN" sign to go with them.

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traffic-light-man
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by traffic-light-man » Tue May 19, 2020 15:09

Cheers guys. I do have a couple of later pop-riveted Tins that were never white, one of which is still in its original factory paint by the looks of it. It'd be great to see them all out on display, Chris!
Simon :driving:

Brian M
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by Brian M » Sat Nov 21, 2020 22:03

Hi Simon worked for forest for 50 years from Stfetford and Timperley in the electric department what do you need to know

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traffic-light-man
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by traffic-light-man » Wed Nov 25, 2020 16:41

Brian M wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 22:03
Hi Simon worked for forest for 50 years from Stfetford and Timperley in the electric department what do you need to know
Hi Brian, welcome to SABRE!

Most of my questions were around the timeline of the supply of permanent signals for use on UK roads, but I've done quite a bit of digging since then, and I think I generated a rough picture.

Firstly, I'd noted for some time the similarity in appearance to Harrington Seaberg signals in the United States. HS was a company whose products were initially distributed by, then bought by Eagle signal, later to become one of the largest suppliers of signal equipment in the USA and also Australia. Through various mergers and buy-outs, it's a brand name now owned by Siemens ITS (US operations). The primary similarities that struck me were the initial design of the signals and the controller cabinets, appearing almost identical. Another similarity, is that the HS signals in the US actually use the block-type 'STOP' and 'GO' lens lettering seen on UK signals right up until the 70s.

I then, whilst not looking for anything particularly traffic signal-specific, was looking through the Manchester Archives Flickr uploads. While there's thousands and thousands of photos on particular subjects to trawl through, there's also plenty to see in the background and most importantly, they're very good quality. It seems Manchester was (not surprisingly) a user of Forest City equipment, perhaps more so than a lot of other areas.

That's where I stumbled across these two photos. They very clearly show a 4-way type signal body (probably the most common of the survivors in the USA), as well as the single-face signal head and additional items, such as the distinctive HS finial, post-top slip fitter and the controller housing.

Image
Picture by Manchester Archives+, on Flickr

Image
Picture by Manchester Archives+, on Flickr

I married these up with the known marketing material from Forest City. Following some more digging, I located a (albeit pixelated) copy from an Eagle Signal brochure from 1930, shared by a fellow signal enthusiast in the US. It can just about be made out under "Foreign Representatives" is the line "England, Stretford, Manchester. The Forest City Electric Co. Ltd., 4 Longford Road."

Image

There was also a subsequent design change in HS signals, where the four retaining wing nuts for the lens 'port-hole' were replaced by two wing nuts opposing each other (top right and bottom left) and a pair of hinges on the right hand side, something which is also reflected in the Forest City marketing materials.This also gives a great indication of how that perhaps evolved in to the later design like the one Nick has restored, because in terms of the door assembly and sizing, it has definite echos of these earlier designs.

ImageForest City Automatic Traffic Signals, Manchester - advert c1930 by mikeyashworth, on Flickr

I haven't done too much digging beyond this at this stage, but it establishes why the signals are so similar. What's unusual is that the Eagle brochure above shows the new-at-the-time modular signals which don't appear to have made it to the UK. I'm making a huge assumption, but it strikes me as a possibility that Eagle/Harrington Seaberg either removed the license to manufacture or it stopped supplying parts to Forest City, and Forest City then established its own signal based on the last HS model used.

Image
Picture by Manchester Archives+, on Flickr

Image
Picture by Manchester Archives+, on Flickr

As I've pointed out, a lot of this is just my own digging from sources available online (I'm yet to get in touch with Mallatite, which was on my 'list' of things to do), so if anyone has anything to add, or indeed just to tell me that it's all rubbish, then please do feel free!
Simon :driving:

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jonnyf90
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Re: forest city traffic light restoration GOT THEM WORKING

Post by jonnyf90 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 00:37

Nicks garage wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 22:26
First off I would like to say hi and thanks for accepting me into the forum, I joined because I bought my self an old Forest city temporary traffic light that I have been restoring.

My personal connection is that my great great grandfather started forest city back in 1902 and my great grandfather too over the business, I used to go to the factory in timperley Manchester quite often with my mum,

Here is an original Advert from one of the first crossings with my great grandparents, my grandfather pushing the button and great uncle in the pram

Don’t know how to add. Picture?

With my restoration I have struggled to understand why the lights had such a strange fastener if anyone can help?

The you tube link shows part of my restoration and how I made the fastener, if anyone can give me any pointers I would massively appreciate it or wants any information from my side

https://youtu.be/1_4rFmxvyn4
That's exceptional craftmanship on the lathe.

Top job.

Cheers
If in doubt, flat out.
Back in the game with a 1996 Volvo 960 2.5 SE!

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