Day 1346

Two eras of call box lights

September 6th, 2015

Here we see an old pole-mounted fire department call box (retrofitted with call buttons for both the fire department and the police) accompanied by two different types of lights indicating that a call box is nearby.

The older, presumably nonfunctioning, light is mounted on a scrolled bracket that would have once supported an old street lamp. The newer light is the orange-pink cylinder — the thing shaped like a can of tennis balls — on top of the modern street lamp.

(To ward off potential confusion for anyone who starts inspecting street lamps more closely, I should note that you can find on just about every street lamp a shorter cylindrical thing, often colored orange, that resembles a laundry detergent cap. These have nothing to do with call boxes; they're photocells that turn the lamps on and off depending on the amount of daylight. In fact, if you look closely at the newer call box light above — or the one pictured more clearly here — you'll see that it has an orange photocell perched right on top of it.)


  1. Deborah C Brannigan says:

    I’ve always wondered what those orange things were! Thanks for the info :)

  2. Michelle Miller says:

    Amazing! (P.S. I just saw your film at VIFF and it is incredible. I love NYC and will see it through a different lens next visit. THANK YOU for sharing this amazing collection).

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