The lantern runs an 80W MBF/U lamp, and was switched by a Venner MSQP time-clock in the column base. The Mercury gear was also mounted in the column base. The internal area of the lantern used to be white, but years of use has seen this paint all-but disappear. I will be repainting it accordingly. A Z6818 polycarbonate globe is carried by the lantern, although a glass one may once have been fitted. The lantern is the forerunner to the popular Z8896 lantern.
Restoration Update- January 2006: I decided to crack on and get the lantern restored, and this meant overcoming my initial stumbling block. This was a siezed grub screw. I had initially managed to remove one of the grub screws when I acquired the lantern, but the 2nd was proving a lot tougher. Using heat and a lot of elbow grease I tried to loosen it. Sadly I failed on this occasion, mainly due to damaging allen keys for a pastime! The fact that the grub screw was the small 1/8" size meant that when a lot of presure was applied to the allen key (or socket head) it simply rounded off or sheared. I decided to cut my losses and just ground down the small part of the grub screw protruding into the spigot. This meant that the lantern was able to be fitted to a bracket and could be secured by one grub screw at least. Next the lantern was prepared internally and given coats of primer. This done, I then coated the internal canopy area in white: back to original colour. The internal fittings were then re-installed. This included a new porcelain cable clamp which I acquired from a scrapped lantern. I shall repaint the outer rim in hammered silver where the white has been scuffed, as that should be the outer colour anyway.
The next step was to clean up the outer surface of the lantern and prepare it for painting. The lantern was given coats of primer, and then the top coat of hammered Silver-Grey. This is, in theory, how the lantern looked when installed. I have found information in GEC catalogues that it was supplied in hammered grey, so it will do for me. The GEC logo on the canopy has come up well and has not been affected by the paint. The one fault that is noticiable is the indentations made when the lantern had to be hammered off the bracket. It is possible they could be ground off but I have left them be for the time being.
The next step was to sort out an outer globe for the lantern. Although a polycarbonate one-piece type was fitted to the lantern in latter years, I was keen to fit a glass bowl. This is possibly what was fitted originally, although there are none left in Plymouth today. A couple of good friends meant I could obtain an elusive glass bowl and the necessary retaining ring.
The glass part was in pristine condition when received, and luckily the retaining ring was also in excellent condition. I may repaint it in time, but for now it will suffice as it is. Both bowl clips were able to be removed and lubricated before the bowl was fitted to the ring, which was a stroke of luck. Finally the bowl was fitted to the lantern: I was very pleased with the outcome!
An Urbis ZX1 lantern with 70W SON-T lamp replaced this lantern, on the existing 5m Cohen steel column.
By Summer 2006, the numbers of remaining Z8596 lanterns had dropped to only a single MBF/U version left in the city. There are a number of MBF/U versions in the area surrounding Plymouth, but the numbers are still few.
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©Davy Warren 2009