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Thread: 1910 street lamp trimmer - photos

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    1910 street lamp trimmer - photos

    1910 street lamp trimmer.

    Having just discovered this 10 minutes ago, allow me to share my expertise: I don't think this guy is trimming anything. I believe the phrase "lamp trimmer" originates from an era of gas streetlamps, which did indeed occasionally need their wicks trimmed.

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    While this is not within my area of expertise, I was under the impression that "lamp trimming" specifically pertained to candles and oil lamps, which both have wicks, while natural gas/propane street lamps had/have bag shaped mantles laced with a radio active isotope as a catalyst (therefore needing no trimming, but occasional replacement if/when the mantle got damaged).

    That being said, a quick search revealed that Philadelphia installed open-arc electric lighting, which was installed in 1879! According to wikipedia: "Arc lamps use high current between two electrodes (typically carbon rods) and require substantial maintenance." So, this gent may in-fact "trim" the carbon rods (with a pencil sharpener type device?) and adjust the gaps. It never occurred to me that "trimming" could accurately apply to electric lights.

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