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eleco: the philips connection

Some ELECO lanterns arenít ELECO lanterns.

For example, I have a 135W SOX lantern, which is unmistakably a GR 150. The dimensions are correct, the design is correct, even the catalogue number is correct. Everything is perfect except for one small detail. The ELECO logo on the canopy isnít there - itís Philips instead.

A Philips GR 150.

I was told that Philips designed and originally manufactured these lanterns as the MA-5 series (and to confirm this statement, I have an ELECO GR 151 cut-off - except itís a Philips MA-5 135W cut-off). Obviously, at some point, ELECO probably made the design under license. A catalogue from the mid 1960s shows ELECO starting to advertise these lanterns, so any previously installed were probably Philips.

Another collector also confirmed that the ELECO HW 918 was a Philips lantern. It was looking as if ELECO were acting as an importer or manufacturing under license.

Further evidence for the Philips design idea can be found in the incredibly popular MA series, the successor of the Goldenray. Firstly, this lantern was supplied as a range, initially for Group A roads only. [1] Secondly, the rather unique, and rather ugly, gear-in-head design was also resurrected for later versions of this lantern.[2].

Given this evidence, Iíd tentatively suggest that the Goldenray design was originally designed by Philips, with limited numbers of imports appearing in the UK. ELECO made the lanterns under license, and probably purchased the design outright when Philips designed the MA series as its replacement.



[1] Manufacturers, such as GEC and Thorn, supplied 90W SOX lanterns based on their old SO/SOI designs, whilst the higher wattages were based on SLI lanterns. Only Philips and ELECO with the Goldenray series, provided the same lantern for all wattages. Philips then repeated this unique idea with the MA series.

[2] At higher wattages, gear-in-head lanterns either add a deep bowl, with the gear housed in the roof of the canopy under a reflector shield, or the gear is placed in a shoe. Both the Goldenray and MA series provide the gear at the spigot end of the lantern, clearly seen through the bowl. So, a 90W gear-in-head lantern was simply a 135W design, with all the gear shoved up towards the end. Ugly.