Lights and Lamps often bear a passing resemblance to Lanterns, but are quite different in their purpose and how they were used. While lanterns were designed to be carried by hand for illumination and signaling, lamps were usually built from heavier metal and often had lenses and large fuel reservoirs. Lamps and lights were usually placed or hung on a post or stand. These were used to mark the front of a train and its type, the caboose of a train, used to signal trains at switches, stations, and in rail yards. These objects hold their value as railroad collectibles even when they do not have a specific railroad’s name on them, because they were manufactured solely for the railroads, and often by the railroads.
Switch Lamps were placed at switches on the track to indicate which direction the switch was set to. (Green is usually straight, red is a turn off the current line) Switch lamps will have four lenses, two red and two green, on opposite sides from each other so that no matter which direction you were going on the track you would see the same color.
Most common manufacturers are:
Adams & Westlake