Walk by JC Art School on 5th Street lately? Notice any new illuminating apparatus? This is a train light, from an Erie Lackawanna passenger car, circa 1930. Not a headlight, not a lantern. A ceiling lamp, removed from an abandoned train car, cleaned up and repainted a near-fire engine red, which matches the door. The original glass globe still intact. The design echoes confidence, the Industrial Revolution at its American peak. Steel. Iron alloys smelted by union workers
. The rail lines into Hoboken today may just reach into different New Jersey counties, the Erie part meant Pennsylvania also heavy industry, not to mention steel and coal. Lots of travel between there and here and the waterfront docks of Hoboken. Function is paramount, but utilitarian agendas get mitigated with the curve, tool & dye mold making expertise, shaping metal to argue against gravity’s dictates of form, giving us some of that deco in art deco in the passenger rail ceiling lamps. Makes you want to know more about this actual car. I’m guessing at the 1930, I could be off 15 years either way. The image at the bottom I copied from a website. Just a guess, give us an idea, some context. Those old passenger cars look so sturdy. It was before air-conditioning, probably not even heated. Metal fixtures, glass globes – decades before fluorescent. A little piece of history between Monmouth and Coles on 5th.