Whelen ROTA-BEAM Family History

They are definitely not available from the factory, but I may have some.
Thanks. That sounds expensive:eek:
Here's my story: I own a 1947 American La France pumper that originally had a pair of red flashers on the rear that I wanted to replace with Whelen RBs.
I volunteer some of my time helping out a fire museum where my engine is stored. The other day I bought a pair of RBIIs from the museum.
I spent some time looking through all of the parts for these lights, hoping to find some good red globes and decent gaskets.
All of the globes were either cracked or broken.
I picked the two best ones and I'm polishing them and have glued the cracks with liquid styrene glue.
I called Whelen yesterday and had two girls tell me that they won't make new parts for old lights.

The museum probably has thirty pairs of these lights ready to sell, but no good globes and no good gaskets. I'd like to help them out and see some of these lights fixed up and sold. They desperately need revenue. They also have a couple of dozen rigs with cracked/broken globes and dried out gaskets. I know collectors who would also buy these parts, but they're NLA.
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
Yeah, because of the twist on design of the domes, the domes were definitely a weak point on these lights. Good domes are not cheap. I just bought a nice red, and paid a high price for it, as red is hard to find in really nice condition. I have a few of other colors also, but for the time being, unless the price was right, they will stay in my collection.
 
Yeah, because of the twist on design of the domes, the domes were definitely a weak point on these lights. Good domes are not cheap. I just bought a nice red, and paid a high price for it, as red is hard to find in really nice condition. I have a few of other colors also, but for the time being, unless the price was right, they will stay in my collection.
Yeah, because of the twist on design of the domes, the domes were definitely a weak point on these lights. Good domes are not cheap. I just bought a nice red, and paid a high price for it, as red is hard to find in really nice condition. I have a few of other colors also, but for the time being, unless the price was right, they will stay in my collection.
I'm very surprised that they didn't learn from the early models that also cracked at the top of the dome. They should have reinforced the plastic at the flimsy mounting points. They could have made the plastic heavier to withstand the strain. Maybe they were aware of the weakness and just decided to sell more replacement globes. Built-in obsolescence.
I wonder if the globes could be easily made by someone else.

How about new gaskets?
 

Southern5

Registered Member
IMG_0414.JPG IMG_0415.JPG Great info! I may have overlooked it, but what do the rb11's go for? I picked up a couple today at a local antique store. Both have cracks on one of the pins. Both work great. Gaskets are a little dry rotted, but overall decent shape.
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
In that condition, without seeing and hearing them run, maybe up to $50 each on a good day. Good domes are hard to find, and costly. Motors and gear trains get loose and noisy also reducing value. Gaskets and badges also reduce.
 

Southern5

Registered Member
Thanks for the info! They run quiet. One of the badges is not legible at all, other one is decent. Thanks again for the info, I came out pretty good. Not good as I hoped though!
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
From under the base losten the nuts on the bulb socket standoffs. Then twist off the dome. Be careful not to put too much stress on the dome retainer pins.
 
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dmathieu

dmathieu

Premium Member
My new to me First Version CORPORAL cleaned up nicely, and works perfectly. Due to my research, I believe the CORPORAL was introduced to the ROTA-BEAM line in 1966. That would make this a 1966 first version. The tag is a generic ROTA-BEAM tag, I assume because the CORPORAL tags had not been produced yet. The base is chrome plated brass common on the older ROTA-BEAMs, instead of the typical stainless steel used on the newer. The magnifiers are very slightly larger and thicker, also common with older models, that give a slightly brighter impulse seen in older ROTA-BEAMs. s-l1600.jpg S6306158.JPG S6306159.JPG S6306160.JPG
 
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