PHOTOS



Restored 60-inch Searchlights from Searchlight Express
   A recent visit to an online auction uncovered this restored GE 60-inch searchlight mounted on a 1976 three-ton GMC truck (the owner, Mark Peters, of Searchlight Express of Virginia, no longer has the unit). GE searchlights like this one were produced from 1932 to 1944 at a cost of $60,000 each. They were the primary "weapon" of the 225th in WW II. (The first 60-inch General Electric searchlight was built in 1893 and was first seen at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago.) Here are some basic specs:

  • Lamp Type: Carbon Arc (no light bulb!)
  • Candlepower: 800,000,000
  • Effective Beam Length: 5.6 miles
  • Effective Beam Visibility: 28–35 miles
  • Mirror Type: Parabolic
   The generator that provides power to the light is rated at 15 KWV nominal / 16.7 KWV maximum (15,000–16,700 watts dc) and is powered by an inline six-cylinder "Hercules" flathead engine, which uses gasoline, but can also be run using kerosene or gasohol. The beam is produced by two carbon rods, one positive and one negative, arcing within the focal point of the 60-inch parabolic mirror. As the rods "burn" they are automatically fed into the light. The rods last approximately two hours before needing to be replaced. The flame that is visible during the light's operation is not actually the source of the light — rather the light is produced as a result of the electricity arcing between the two rods. The flame in the photo below is the rod slowly burning away. The arc draws 150 amps continuously at 90–100 volts, and burns at over 3,000 degrees Farenheit. The power is supplied by the dc generator, which was designed specifically by GE for this purpose.

   For more photos of Mark's lights, scroll down. Mark currently has 10 working lights (eight General Electrics and two Sperry models).



60-INCH GE LIGHT (26 K)

The 55-year old light and generator on its contemporary "platform."

60-INCH GE LIGHT (27 K)

Both the light and generator (both with wheels removed)
are mounted on the bed of the truck.


BURNING CARBON (24 K)

The flame from the burning carbons as electrical current arcs between them.

GENERATOR CONTROL PANEL (28 K)

A close-up of the generator control panel.

SEARCHLIGHTS (30 K)

A panoramic shot of some of Mark Peters' caravan of lights.

SEARCHLIGHT (26 K)

A night shot of the light and generator.

SEARCHLIGHT (32 K)

That famous 800-million-candlepower beam on display.


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