Runway Light Restoration

Thank you very much to Steve Harris who has done a fantastic job on restoring two of the original runway lights. See below for Steve’s account of the restoration project.


{vsig_c}0|pic1.jpg|Oval Light Top – Before|{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}0|pic2.jpg|Oval Light Bottom – Before|{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}0|pic3.jpg|Round Light Bottom – Before|{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}0|pic4.jpg|Oval Light – Dismantled|{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}0|pic5.jpg|Oval Light Top – After|{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}0|pic6.jpg|Oval Light Bottom – After|{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}0|pic7.jpg|Runway Light Assembly|{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}0|pic8.jpg|Completed and On Display|{/vsig_c}


Runway light restoration process

As can be seen in the photographs above both lights were badly corroded having been outside for seventy years.

When dismantling began none of the screws or cable glands could be undone, so every screw had to be cut or the head ground off to allow the lights to be dismantled. When both lights had been dismantled the rust and corrosion was wire brushed or ground away and all surfaces treated with corrosion inhibiter and rust converter. When the lights were being dismantled some markings became apparent. The oval light has the “G.E.C.” trademark cast into it on the underside and also a date stamp, which reads “11/01/37”. There was also evidence that the underside of the main castings had been silvered and also the remains of black enamel on the other parts of the lights.


When the lights were dismantled it was noticed that the main glass domes in the oval fitting where broken, probably by frost damage over the years outside. Once the glass dome securing rings had bee de-rusted the glass domes where repaired by using a high temperature epoxy steel resin. This repair is invisible once the lights are re-assembled. The dome securing rings are marked “SIMPLEX CLM 15254”. And the glass domes are marked “PYREX BRAND TYPE A No. 937 Walsall” (For parts list please see exploded diagram). The lamp holder housings had been filled with tar to make the wiring waterproof and this had to be removed before the lamp holders could be taken out. One of the lamp holders was found to be badly cracked but the other was re-usable, another of similar age and type to the cracked one has been used to replace it. When the rust had been removed from the lamp holder housings these were found to have the numbers, “10035” stamped near the cable inlet with the number “8” opposite. The brass cable glands in the lamp holder housing could not be removed so these where drilled out and a 20mm B.S.C. thread cut into the metal so that a new brass gland could be fitted.


In both lights the blue wartime shade that covered the bulbs where intact and after being cleaned where re-used. The bulbs were found to be standard 15-watt bayonet cap 240-volt pygmy lamps. The ones in the oval lamp needed replacing with new but the one in the round light still worked, although this has now been replaced with a new one. The rear reflectors in the oval light where in perfect condition and needed only cleaning with a cloth but the bottom reflectors had rusted away, so new ones have been made from highly polished aluminium.


When re-assembly started all the old screws were drilled out to a size of 4.5mm and tapped out to 5mm. M5 x 25mm pan head machine screws have been used to secure the lamp holder housings, M5 x 20mm button head socket screws have been used to secure the glass dome securing rings to the main casting and M4 x 25mm Cheese head screws used to secure the lamp holders into their housings. 8mm long spacers have been made to fit on the screws securing the lamp holder housings to the dome securing rings, this is to prevent the lamp holder housing being over tightened and the lamp crushing the blue shade against the inside of the glass dome. Similarly spacer washers have been made to fit between the glass dome securing rings and the main casting to prevent the glass dome securing rings being over tightened possibly crushing the glass dome against the main casting.


Both of the lights have been enamelled black as this was found on all the metal castings during cleaning and also to cover the corrosion inhibiter which colours rust and corrosion purple.

The inside of both main casting have had chrome enamel applied to simulate the original silvering.