A hundred years ago, these things were very elaborate, ornate, and heavy as can be seen below.
They used to be heavy cast iron pieces. With an ever increasing pressure to make things quicker,
cheaper, and lighter, most new finials are now simple pipe caps made out of aluminum, similar to what
you would buy a home improvement center to stick on the end of a piece of PVC pipe to cap it off.
After a discussion on the Yahoo Railway Signaling group, it was decided that
pinnacle and final are interchangeable.
A plain finial sitting atop a CPL signal in south Baltimore is a finial like the one below.
The same style finial on top of a sign pole, but not sure what those wires are for....
It's just down the track & to the left from the CPL shown here.
A couple of crossing signal installations (and their finials) on Annapolis Rd, near Manokin St in the
Westport section of Baltimore MD.
One clean, one not!
It fits a 5" pipe, and is about 6 1/2" high.
These things "kinda" became the standard finial after the mid-sixties or so....
Rusty things like these clean up real nice in a sand blasting cabinet -- if you don't have access to one, they can be had for
around $80 from places like Northern Tools or Harbor Freight - you will need a hefty air compressor tho, as they use a lot of it!
Locking Bolt and nut, the nut tightens against the casting, the bolt head is 3/4".
A finial on a WRRS pedestrian crossing gate.
It fits a 5" pipe, and is 4 1/2" high.
It measures 17 1/2" from just under the skirt to the top, 22 1/2" total height,
And about 7 1/2" across the wide skirt,
The inside diameter looks to be 5 1/2",
I bought two of these from a scrap yard in Roanoke VA in 1999.
The one in the picture was damaged from being cut off the pole,
The other one is still affixed (welded) to a short section of pole.
A variety of finials seen at the Gaithersburg MD train show in 2006.
The cap at the bottom would typically go on top of a pole where wires had to come out....
Thanks to Bill Hudson for reminding me it is called a weatherhead.
This interesting finial measures about 18" tall,
The picture is courtesy Tim W in Knoxville TN, many thanks Tim
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an
expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.
This is something I have fun with while trying to help others. My
webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in
one convenient place.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has
been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this
railfan guide is correct. Once in a while, an error may creep in :-).
Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a
thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only
get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented. Take
along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still
better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get
local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts
out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their
state maps do not have the railroads on them. If you can find em,
I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and
concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where
tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.
Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels
inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have
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