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Mark 1, Mark 2, Mark 3?

Started by hb88banzai, Aug 29, 2010, 09:29 am

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ironageman

Sep 14, 2010, 09:50 am #30 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2010, 08:57 am by ironageman
Found it!
( - picture removed and reposted below - )

Incidentally, I'm not knocking Pete D's pioneering website by mentioning that 'Mk1, Mk2' were (coincidentally or not) used earlier. Hmm, yes, the article does imply that it's the signage that's regarded as 'Mk 1' or 'Mk 2' but as that doesn't really tie in with all the changes that we're identifying here.

EDIT: oh, bother, I haven't quite got the hang of posting pictures here! This picture is complete on my memory stick. Still, you can just make out what I was talking about.  ( - picture removed and reposted below - )
leonard cohen  1934-2016  standing by the window where the light is strong

hb88banzai

Sep 14, 2010, 09:52 am #31 Last Edit: Sep 14, 2010, 10:48 am by hb88banzai
Quote from: ironageman on Sep 14, 2010, 08:46 am
Oh yes, serifs! I hadn't noticed that, and the Exhibition signs did look like cardboard cut-outs. I'm still not sure about the MK 1 POLICE being cut out of timber; I can't imagine the centre of the O lasting long with those thin little supports if they weren't metal.

I suppose that the same doors were used for the timber boxes as for the early concrete one, hence the same lock position. Certainly the panels of the Barnet door were a neat 12" wide, not matching the concrete panels.

It's not only the plans that show wording on the telephone door as well as below; I've a children's book of that era (somewhere! I'll dig it out) which has a sketch of a police box with the same feature. Well, that's not exactly proof, but I think it a possibility. There was clearly a desire to say PULL TO OPEN in big letters on the glass door, giving the unreal impression that people were wasting precious minutes trying to push the little door (though more likely they were smashing the glass, or it was feared that they would).

It would be good to include the colour change of the box in the list, as that very dark Met blue seems to have been a relatively recent change.


Good points all.

I agree that normal wood would be pretty fragile for those Mk 1 stenciled signs (just to cut out, much less during service). The boxes themselves seemed to have been made out of a middle to lower grade of softwood like pine, evidenced by all the knots visible in one of the pictures (probably easily visible only on that box and set of pics due to a thin initial paint job and some seepage from poorly sealed knots in marginally seasoned wood - but for this happenstance we might still be debating if they were timber at all). I was wondering though if something like Masonite (pressboard/hardboard/fiberboard) might have been used on the sign portion of the lintels - Masonite having been invented in 1924 and put into mass production in 1929, so the timing is more or less right. For that matter, I should think even a high quality hardwood plywood might have worked well enough (eg, mahogany, or even maple or birch). And yes, I imagine durability (or rather the lack thereof) would have been a strong reason to change it in subsequent Marks.

Oh yes, I definitely think writing on the phone door signs is possible, especially (as you say) there being more circumstantial or anecdotal evidence than just the Trench plans (noting, however, that the wording on the phone door on those plans looks distinctly "added on" - rather roughly and by another hand). It's just that the direct photographic evidence for this seems to be lacking. Of course, if the words really were black or dark blue on clear glass (just intended to avoid misunderstanding and resultant damage) they would be very hard to see at a distance or in a photograph. Just another maddening lack of data so typical with the history of these boxes.

I didn't know the door on Barnet had different measurements for the insets. So, different widths - were the heights the same as the concrete panels? What about their depth and bevel angles - were they the approximately 5/8" and 22 degrees you found for the concrete panels? For that matter, did you get a look at the back of the door through the windows at all? I'd be very interested to know if it had the same flush panels with trim that the outside of Crich exhibits (undoubtedly designed to be the inside, just installed wrong).

Anyone measure the inside of the Crich door to see if those panel insets (if installed facing out) would be the same as its concrete panels?

As to early Barnet boxes using the same doors as the timber boxes - possible, but they would have to have been built a bit longer than actually needed for the timber boxes and then cut down in the course of installation for this to be the case, because on the timber boxes they didn't go all the way down to the base like they did on all the concrete boxes. The door ended at what I surmise to be the inside floor level or some other structural detail - evidenced by a seam visible approximately 1" or so above the top of the base that goes clear around the box on all side panels (at least that we have pics of), with an obviously larger seam/gap under the door itself at that level for clearance. It's one of the things that distinguishes the timber boxes.

Edit: As to lock positions, it should be noted that moving the lock on the concrete boxes wouldn't be a trivial matter like it would be on a timber box. This is because the Strike for the latch is mounted to the concrete and there is a corresponding cutout in the inner portions of the center divider to allow the latch bolt free movement to deflect, enter beyond the door jam and latch. This would require cutting a new slot in the jam and new provision for attachment of the metal Strike Plate and recess, as well as repair of the concrete at the previous Strike location and filling in of the hole in the door (or even a whole new door).

hb88banzai

Sep 16, 2010, 09:47 am #32 Last Edit: Sep 16, 2010, 10:42 am by hb88banzai
Quote from: ironageman on Sep 14, 2010, 08:46 am
(snip)
, and the Exhibition signs did look like cardboard cut-outs.
(snip)



Looking at the Olympia box again, I think the "cardboard" impression is just because the darn thing is just so pristine looking.

If you look here -

Exhibition-1936.jpg

- you can see a distinct reflection glare in the lower half of the near side top sign, so it was definitely glass.

Edit: - The only other picture I've got of the timber box at the Olympia Exhibition is this one -

1936demo.jpg

It's horribly low res, but does at least give a better view of the phone door. It is clear and I don't see any lettering - though at this resolution that doesn't mean anything.

However, when looking up the above pic, I came across this one from the front of the handout given out at the same show -

olympia show.jpg

If it is a picture of an in-service box and not just a glamor shot done in a studio, then it is about the best picture I've seen of the phone door on a Barnet type concrete box in its transitional signage state. I don't see any lettering in evidence on the phone door, do you? I also note that it seems to have a wall type phone inside mounted on the pillar side of the phone cupboard. Interesting.

The windows seem a bit randomized as well (unless it's just glare), possibly showing further evidence of its transitional state between the timber (and early concrete) style that had mostly all pebbled glass windows (with only the bottom center panes being tinted) and the more classic pattern with clear panes on top and outer pebbled and center tinted panes on the bottom arrangement of the later more TARDIS-like Mk 2s.

peted

Now this is the kind of detailed discussion and analysis that I could have only have dreamed of back in 1999 when I first opened shop. Wow. Ironage - you know what? I probably took that whole mk1 / mk2 thing unconsciously from the DWM article - at the time I put the site together, my entire collection of DWM from issue 1  was at my folks house, so I didn't have access to it, but when it was published, I must have reaf that article about a dozen times, so I'm willing to accept it was lodged in my subconscious. The photo of the Olympia leaflet comes from one I got from the original owner when it was on ebay - he sent it to me when I asked for a higher res pic of the leaflet up for auction. To this day, I wish I'd put my hand in my pocket a bit deeper for this - i think i took my bid up to about £100 then dropped out. The leaflet went for silly money I remember- £200+, to a police historian. I mailed him, politely asking if he would scan the leaflet if I paid for it (in those days, there was no buyer id hidden option) and he never replied. I live in hope that one day another will come up, but I'd be in competition with all of you lot this time :) Ironage - that b/w illustration you posted - is there any more to go with that?

ironageman

Sep 21, 2010, 08:43 am #34 Last Edit: Dec 08, 2010, 01:43 pm by ironageman
inside leaflet.jpg

Yes, I saw that leaflet on ebay and for some reason imagined that you had bought it! I'll have another go at that picture:
childrensbook second attempt.JPG

Don't you love the caption?

It seems similar to the Ickenham picture, apart from the electrical connector or bell or whatever it is:
the ickenham pic seems to show the same feature.JPG
right down to the apparently sideways-hung receiver and seemingly some lines of text on the clear glass door. This could be illusory; perhaps someone has a clearer shot of this?
leonard cohen  1934-2016  standing by the window where the light is strong

ironageman

Oh, and banzai - gosh, what a clear picture of the exhibition box! Yes, you're exactly right about why the lintel sign seemed cardboard to me; the different style of mounting added to the impression.

The interchangeability of the doors is hard to be sure of without knowing more of the timber box dimensions. That said, the panels of the timber box look to have the proportions of the concrete box panels rather than of the Barnet door: that is to say, 11 3/4" x 15" rather than 12" x 15"... but this is hard (impossible?) to judge.

To answer the Barnet door question: the panels had no bevel at all, as I remember, and the pictures seem to bear this out. I don't remember looking through the windows; at the time, I regarded it less as a piece of street furniture, more as the shell of a time machine.

More for the chronological list: the top lamp was almost certainly red on some early boxes. There were (at least) two versions of the white-on-blue POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX sign - notice the alignment of the word PUBLIC with CALL.
leonard cohen  1934-2016  standing by the window where the light is strong

hb88banzai

Sep 21, 2010, 08:57 am #36 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2010, 10:27 am by hb88banzai
Quote from: pete d on Sep 18, 2010, 09:14 pm
Now this is the kind of detailed discussion and analysis that I could have only have dreamed of back in 1999 when I first opened shop. Wow. Ironage - you know what? I probably took that whole mk1 / mk2 thing unconsciously from the DWM article - at the time I put the site together, my entire collection of DWM from issue 1  was at my folks house, so I didn't have access to it, but when it was published, I must have reaf that article about a dozen times, so I'm willing to accept it was lodged in my subconscious. The photo of the Olympia leaflet comes from one I got from the original owner when it was on ebay - he sent it to me when I asked for a higher res pic of the leaflet up for auction. To this day, I wish I'd put my hand in my pocket a bit deeper for this - i think i took my bid up to about £100 then dropped out. The leaflet went for silly money I remember- £200+, to a police historian. I mailed him, politely asking if he would scan the leaflet if I paid for it (in those days, there was no buyer id hidden option) and he never replied. I live in hope that one day another will come up, but I'd be in competition with all of you lot this time :) Ironage - that b/w illustration you posted - is there any more to go with that?


I think cooperation would rule over possessiveness for most of us. As long as a decent resolution scan was the end result, I for one wouldn't care who won it  :)

On the Olympia box, I noticed a couple interesting things on the semi-hi-res photo (many thanks to whomever I got this from). Here's a closeup of the windows and sign.

Olympia-1936-WindowsCloseup.JPG

First, note the glare I was talking about on the lintel signs showing that they are likely glass (for those who don't want to blow up the original image). Also, from the signs and the windows it appears that the inside light is on as they all seem to be glowing a bit from the inside.

Now for the really interesting bits - look at the tinted windows in the nearest side wall. The details there don't appear to be reflections, they seem to me to be inside details showing through (not surprising if the light is indeed on).

On the left one it appears to show the inner edge to the far pillar, and if so then it would seem that unlike the concrete boxes the timber boxes have actual pillar corners inside with full moulding detail just like the outside.

On the right things get even more interesting. It looks for all the world like we are seeing one of the back windows and that it is angled in as if it were a hopper style window that was in the open position. This is despite the leaded glass look to the windows that we see and the assumption that this means they couldn't be opened for ventilation. If this is what we are seeing, then either these have been changed out from the original leaded glass for the later hinged iron type (possibly of a thinner profile on the outside than the ones on the concrete boxes) and simply painted blue like the rest of the box (resolution is a bit too low to tell for sure), or the leaded glass windows had hinges.

Here is a blowup of the bottom of the door showing how it was raised up off the base level.

Olympia-1936-DoorBottomCloseup.JPG

If you look closely there is a hint of the fact that there is a seam in the walls at the same level on all sides. The paint on the Olympia box is quite thick, so it's mostly masked, but in the other semi-hi-res pics of the timber boxes it is a bit more obvious.

Like this -

NewlyErectedTimber-LowerDetail.JPG

Even more obvious on the thinly painted Richmond box -

Richmond-1930-BottomPanelDetail.JPG


Back to Olympia -

Olympia-1936-StJohnCloseup.JPG

The St. John plaque here, though fairly pixelated, is still entirely consistent with the plaque recently spied on those Mk III boxes prior to their refurb, and also with the one on the Cushing box (reinforcing the proposition that the Cushing St. John sign was a real one as used on the boxes of the time). Size of the animals in proportion to the cross, the simple dot at the bottom and general look are the same.

Now to the phone and phone door -

Olympia-1936-PhoneCloseup.JPG

Can't see much of it, but it appears from the pillar detail visible behind that the glass is clear. Also looks like they are using a wall mounted phone attached to the pillar side of the cupboard as with the leaflet's concrete Barnet type box and ironageman's examples. Looks like this might have been a transitional standard between the candlestick phones of the early installations and the 244 pyramid phones established as standard in the GPO plans dated 1937, coinciding with the introduction of the new exchanges. I've seen some pics of concrete boxes from the 50's that show the same phone type and position, so obviously they weren't all changed when the new exchanges came out.

It's not visible here, but I also note on other pics of these boxes that the drip ledge for the phone cupboards was actually attached to the bottom of the phone door and not to the upper edge of the wall inset as they were on the concrete boxes (Barnet being much more pronounced than Crich).

Then there's this -

Olympia-1936-PillarTopSignBottomDetail.JPG

Note the obvious gap between the pillars and the wall/roof above the line of the sign lintels. This was pretty common from what I can find, so is probably a result of the structure and how it was assembled. Must have been a pain to weather proof. Now, I may be reading more into this admittedly medium resolution pic than is warranted, but there sure seems to be a bit deeper shadow under part of the sign lintel (about even with the end of the pillar moulding and extending to the wall), and partly reinforced by the apparent lack of shine or reflection there. Could this be a vent line? Wasn't there something similar (though on a smaller scale) visible on some of the Barnet type boxes? Don't know if because of deterioration or an actual design feature on those, but I do remember seeing some pics with gaps in the same area (separated a bit from the wall, however).

Finally - what on earth is going on in that beacon?

Olympia-1936-BeaconDetail.JPG

Looks like a lot more than just a regular light bulb, doesn't it.

hb88banzai

Sep 21, 2010, 09:25 am #37 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2010, 10:34 am by hb88banzai
Quote from: ironageman on Sep 21, 2010, 08:43 am
(snip)
the ickenham pic seems to show the same feature.JPG
right down to the apparently sideways-hung receiver and seemingly some lines of text on the clear glass door. This could be illusory; perhaps someone has a clearer shot of this?


Oooo - that is tantalizing, isn't it. There certainly is the suggestion of something being written there. Right on the edge of perception, though, due to the size of the half-tones, so as you say it might still be illusory. But wow. Note the "normal" window arrangement (clear-clear-clear over pebbled-tinted-pebbled), as well. Not enough detail to see if there is a standard early-type sign below the phone door, but there is a slight lightening in tone detectable so probably reasonable to assume there was. And a light blue box it would appear, with possibly the same color window frames.


Quote from: ironageman on Sep 21, 2010, 08:53 am
More for the chronological list: the top lamp was almost certainly red on some early boxes. There were (at least) two versions of the white-on-blue POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX sign - notice the alignment of the word PUBLIC with CALL.


There was also variation in weight of the font. Some had noticeably thicker strokes to the characters, with less negative space visible in the centers of the P's, C's, etc., as a result.

hb88banzai

Sep 21, 2010, 10:09 am #38 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2010, 10:22 am by hb88banzai
Here's that drip ledge I was talking about (bottom of phone door) -

Richmond-1930-PhoneDoorDetail.JPG

Looks like through the glass we can see the hinges to the open inner phone door, which also has what might be an instruction sheet/plate attached.

markofrani

Here are some close-ups of the Olympia box which may help the discussion...
7.jpg
6.jpg
5.jpg
4-1.jpg
3-3.jpg
2-3.jpg
1-3.jpg

hb88banzai

Sep 21, 2010, 12:33 pm #40 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2010, 12:49 pm by hb88banzai
Quote from: markofrani on Sep 21, 2010, 10:47 am
Here are some close-ups of the Olympia box which may help the discussion...



markofrani - wow! Absolutely wow!

Now those are what I call hi-res pics.

So, definitely leaded glass window frames and yet looks very much like that back window is open. I do note that the window frames/struts on the "open" one at the back seem to be a bit larger than the leaded glass ones in the foreground - possibly iron framed windows in back? Would seem odd to have different window frames at different window positions on the same box though.

Pillar moulding on the inside also appears confirmed.

For the first time I'm able to see the beveling on the inset panels (I was wondering from the semi-hi-res pics of this and other timber boxes whether there was any at all). Looks to be around the standard 22 degrees.

Sign lintels are NOT vented on the bottom, but there is a seam/join line with a slight change in level evident and a gap at a misfit or simplified joint at the pillar. Top of center divider is beveled "down" toward the sign box rather than butting up against it. There is moulding detail around the sign plate itself. Wow, never saw that.

Possible lettering on the phone door. Hard to tell, but there is some suggestion of something going on in the small bits one can see.

That St. John is the clearest image of an old plaque on record. Again - amazing! It's the first I've ever seen with FOUR screw attachments. Clearly a black border painted on the outside the newer ones don't seem to have (unless it wore off).

Beacon looks like it has a really BIG globular light bulb inside that's colored -  maybe blue, maybe red.

The lock looks a bit odd. Very unusual and deep if a rimlock, with some unusual details around the plug at the lower half of the face and above that where the name would be. Possible it is a dummy.

Handle seems to have screws in-line with each other rather than staggered like most seem to have been on later concrete boxes.

markofrani - Many, many thanks for sharing these. Just amazing!

Any chance you could show a pic of the lower door area/level? Or perhaps even a link to the whole pic?

hb88banzai

Sep 21, 2010, 01:04 pm #41 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2010, 01:09 pm by hb88banzai
Here's a comparison of the Olympia Box's St. John plaque (courtesy of markofrani) and the St. John plaque off of one of the Mark 3's -

Olympia-StJohn-CloseupCrop.JPGMark3-StJohn-CloseupCrop.JPG

There are some minor differences, but many of the details are very close.

Here's the Cushing St. John for comparison -

Cushing-StJohn-ClosupCrop.JPG

hb88banzai

Hmmmm - a lock cover?

Olympia-LockCrop.JPG

Hinged lock covers were not uncommon in the civilian sector to keep the weather out, so I suppose it's possible, but certainly the first I've seen on a Police Box if that's what it is.


exleo

With regards to any differences in the writing of the lintel door signs and the front panel signs, these boxes were all built when long before printed signs would have been used on anything that was an outdoor feature and when sign-writers were still highly skilled and numerous. All signs would have been hand painted and therefore there will be slight differences in positioning or thickness of lettering though thye would have generally been copying a specific font.

Kingpin

Sep 21, 2010, 08:04 pm #44 Last Edit: Sep 21, 2010, 08:05 pm by Kingpin
Quote from: hb88banzai on Sep 21, 2010, 08:57 amFinally - what on earth is going on in that beacon?

1-3.jpg

Looks like a lot more than just a regular light bulb, doesn't it.


A rotating beacon, perhapse?