Whelen ROTA-BEAM Family History

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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
S6304557.JPG The green Responder came in beautiful condition. Now part of my Original Responder collection.

I included this in the ROTA-BEAM Family thread because the Responder was the immediate replacement for the CORPORAL.

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Aaron W

Established Member
Thanks for all the info, you obviously have a thing for these lights and oftentimes that is the only way history gets saved. Whelen to me is a maker of strobes, I had no idea they went so far back into warning light history.

I am kind of curious about the differences between the 3 main sizes of the earlier RB11 based lights. They appear to be basically the same mechanically just vary in size, and you mention in some cases lower end models having a lighter duty motor (cheaper I assume?). Obviously there must be some advantage to larger or they would all be the compact light. Is there a difference in bulb power, a marked difference in magnifying lens effectiveness (it does look like the Senior has a larger lens), number of lenses, rotation speed etc between these lights? 

I've tried to find videos of these to help answer these questions but Whelen has kept the name in use so the vast majority of videos are their more modern lights.

If you put a Corporal, an RB11 and a Senior across a dark field would you see a noticeable difference between the 3 or was it more of a long term thing with the larger lights being able to handle more use, longer life span?
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
Aaron, You are correct about the lighter duty lights costing a little less.

As far as size, the Corporal was made to fit on the dash as windshields began to slope more.

The RB11, MODEL 66, and DEPUTY, and CORPORAL all used the same 1195 50CP bulb and magnifiers, so all of those 4 had exactly the same brightness.

The SENIOR size lights had much larger magnifiers, offered a larger visual profile, and were shipped from the factory with a Whelen bulb # W44 which had a larger filament. This bulb was supposed to be brighter, but wasn't. These larger SENIOR size lights were a good deal brighter than the smaller lights.

That being said, these lights had a filament to magnifier height adjustment. If this adjustment was not made properly to give the best focal point ratio of filament to magnifier, the brightness suffered greatly. This was a problem with many making bulb changes, and made many think that the lights weren't very effective, when the dimmer brightness was due to maintenance error. When adjusted properly, these were nice and effective.

The # of lenses was always 3, and the FPM was always appx. 70-90

Not talking about the motors, these all had appx. the same life span. The HD motors would definitely make the light more HD, and add to the life span.
 

Skip Goulet

Passed Away
The green Responder came in beautiful condition. Now part of my Original Responder collection.

I included this in the ROTA-BEAM Family thread because the Responder was the immediate replacement for the CORPORAL.

View attachment 143826
I've had a couple of Responders that were really nice, and I liked the lower profile.  Something you'd get a kick out of Dan:  My ambulance service once worked the football games for the small community of New Deal, TX, just north of Lubbock.  Much to my surprise at the beginning of one season was their introduction of a "Spirit Wagon" operated by the cheerleaders.  It had two Responders: one red, one blue, with a small motor-driven siren.  Cute!
 

kitn1mcc

Veteran Member
Everyone i knew when i was growing up had and still has a responder.   They were priced about 50 dollars and changing colors was easy
 

Aaron W

Established Member
Interesting that they have 3 lenses, from the photos it looks like a squarish profile so I assumed even numbered, but looking closer I can see it is really more of a hex shape.

Thank you
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
post-28-140090507365_thumb.jpg post-28-140089931258_thumb.jpg S6304571.JPG S6304572.JPG S6304573.JPG S6304574.JPG Just added my 3rd CLEAR RAY FLASHER Model CR-M to the ROTA-BEAM collection. 3 different versions/vintages of the CLEAR-RAY FLASHER.

All cleaned up! Thanks Rich!

1st 2 pics are my 1st 2 CRs

Next 4 pics are the new to me one.

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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
My Dad had a nice red one back in the 1960s, but gave it to a fireman. That one, one that I sold, these 3, and one that I know of in Missouri are the only ones that I've seen or been aware of in the 50 years that I've been watching/collecting. Not very common.

The 3 that I have, each have different engineering changes.

The changes all have to do with servicing the bulb and flasher. The oldest (the last 4 pictures), the permanent version had to be completely removed from the vehicle to change both bulb and flasher. The next (1st picture), the bulb could be changed by using a different dome retainer system, without removing the light from the vehicle, but the light still had to be removed to change the flasher. The 3rd revision (2nd picture) made it possible to change both bulb and flasher without removing the light from the vehicle, by putting the flasher up under the dome with the bulb, instead of under the base.
 
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coop359

Member
Hi Guys - I picked up a ROTO-BEAM Model RB-10 at a flea market today. It says 6 volt but what I find interesting is the tag says Joliet, Ill.  I have not seen one of these before - the bulb socket is mounted thru the top of the dome. Anyone have a guess on what it is worth? The dome is red and not cracked. The chrome has some pitting. It has a flat plate on the bottom  and a short white lamp cord with the metal lighter plug.

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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
Nice find! This light is discussed in this thread. Start on page 1, but also discussed in further pages.

PM sent.
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
s-l1600 (1).jpg s-l1600 (2).jpg s-l1600 (3).jpg HOLY COW!!!!!!

Just added an extremely elusive, extremely rare ROTO-BEAM RB 10, yes rotO, not rotA-BEAM, (Note the tag) (SEE PAGE ONE of this thread).

I have seen this rotO in brochure only, never in person, (one more piece to my almost complete puzzle).

Thank you Tony!!

Original shipping can, original brochure.

Not sure what the added electronic item is that is attached through the base.

Other than the 1st version aircraft ROTA-BEAM, this is the oldest ROTO/ROTA-BEAM made, and in my collection....WOOOOHOOOO.!!!!

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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
S6304664.JPG S6304665.JPG S6304669.JPG I just received the above pictured rotO BEAM RB10 in decent, but not pristine condition. The condition does not matter so much, because this is the only one that I have ever heard of, never mind seen.

As a bonus, along with the light came an instruction sheet, and a 2 page colored product bulletin/advertisement. This describes the RB10, and also describes the RB20. The RB20, I have never heard of. It was the permanent mount model of the RB10.

The address at the bottom of the brochure is the little heard of, (previously mentioned in this thread), Whelen Engineering Co. Joliet, Illinois.

Just more pieces to my Whelen ROTO/ROTA-BEAM history.

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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
S6304692.JPG S6304693.JPG Refurbed ROTO-BEAM RB10; (rotO, not rotA); (RB10, not RB11);

In my 50+ years of collecting, other than in a brochure, this is the first rotO BEAM that I have seen.

6 Volt, magnetic portable mount.

See above posts for items and brochures that came with this light.

This is, I believe, Whelen's first entry into the automotive lighting industry. See page 1 for more history on this subject.

Note: The metal plug in the base, to the left of the tag, is to plug a hole made by the previous owner, to install a device to convert from 6 to 12 Volt.(Too bad)

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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
Figured I'd add this to the ROTA-BEAM Family Thread.S6304838.JPG
A pic of my extra ROTA-BEAM domes.
Deputy/RB11
Corporal
Model 66 including New Clear and Red
New GLASS Red Model 66
Senior Models 22/33/44/55/77
 

stansdds

Veteran Member
The old Whelen blue looks so much better than the later production lighter blue.
 

stansdds

Veteran Member
Yep, the old blue was blue. The newer blue looked faded when brand new and only got worse with exposure to the elements.
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
Agreed, and all blue ROTA-BEAM domes are at a premium, with the older dark blue being extremely rare. All of the colors were darker in the older days.
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
Just added another NOS RB120 120 Volt AC. These are nice because you can have any color just by changing the dome, and plug it directly into a wall outlet.s-l1600 (38).jpg
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
Just cleaned up another piece of the ROTA-BEAM puzzle!
This is what I believe to be a first version Freez-Alarm (late 1950s-early 1960s). Included was the original box, instruction sheet, and product bulletin.
This has the standard taller base, made of chrome plated steel, a dome held on by the dome retainer clips and screws, an older ceramic socket, an inline plug, and an older smaller base gasket.
This is the 4th version of Freez-Alarm that I have foundS6304945.JPG S6304946.JPG S6304947.JPG S6304951.JPG S6304953.JPG S6304954.JPG S6304955.JPG S6304956.JPG
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
S6304958.JPG Another rebadged ROTA-BEAMS6304957.JPG
This is a NOS 1990 vintage ROTA-BEAM RB120 120 Volt RB11, rebadged for General Signal Edwards as Adapta Beacon Model 47A-N5
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
I just grabbed this 1961 ROTA-BEAM aircraft beacon literature.
Whelen got it's start in aircraft beacons back in the early 1950s.
Whelen's aircraft ROTA-BEAMS are pictures elsewhere in this thread.s-l1600 (52).jpg
More pictures after I receive it.
 
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Skip Goulet

Passed Away
Nice, Dan. I saw one of those on a light aircraft years ago. It used to amaze me about some of the things that Whelen built that weren't emergency vehicle-related. I just got an email from a classified ad site showing a nice '65 Corvair Monza for sale in N.H. for "only" $9 grand!

I guess by now you've heard about my recent illness. Spent 20 days in Apr. in the hospital due to acute renal failure. Back on my feet again!
 

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