Railroad Lanterns & Signs
Railroad lanterns communicated signals at night between trains and stations before city lights and GPS were born. They consisted of four components: a base, a cage, a chimney and a glass globe which housed the light source. The cage protected the globe from damage. Even with the cage, many globes were damaged and finding one intact today is quite rare. Lanterns with railroad markings are more valuable than unmarked ones.
When it comes to collectible railroad signs, there are many. The most collectible of antique railroad signs are the promotional signs. Often made of porcelain, these signs featured depots and stations. They advertised everything from the railroad itself to specific routes. Some used marketing slogans and mascots to depict the railroad.
Just like model trains, railroad lanterns and signs are highly sought after by collectors. Some like to collect to remind them of the past and others have a true passion about railroads and the train industry. Many of the old lanterns and signs don’t exist anymore so finding railroad memorabilia is a rare find if they are found intact and in good shape.