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Discussion Starter #1
I found one of these at a garage sale. the picture is off the internet but is is damn close to mine. The seller called is a smudge pot but said it was used by the railroad. It is sold metal and fairly heavy.
I have since discovered it is a switch heater used to keep railroad switches from freezing in remote areas. It holds fuel like kerosene and is supposed to have a wick of some sort.

Any thoughts on a use ? Has anybody ever seen one before ? Any railroad buffs out there ?

Thanks. SWITCH HEATER.jpg
 

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i have seen them before, and in about the same condition. If i remember correctly, which might be doubtful, but.... what i recall is that there should be several chambers inside the that held "U" shaped wicks and a clip, with an exterior fuel source, like a tank... Basically when it got cold - railroad folks would open the flow of fuel into the box and light the wicks, putting off heat through the walls onto the track positioned touching the box..... the last part of that i can't recall 100%,and by that i mean, i don't remember if the wicks were fully exposed or if the heat was transfered abiently through the walls of the box....
 

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I believe after thinking that railroad folks woudl place the box underneath the switch itself and the wicj would produce a flame directly to the switch to keep it warm and unfrozen..... Fire directly on the steel from below....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Casper, that sounds right. Dammed if I can find any info on them. I would love to use it as a creepy light source but not sure about the wick or fuel. Thanks for your help.
 

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I tried to find info all I could locate was the original patten and it said little on the actual operations... at least that I could understand.. but from what I gathered you need a "U" clip wick configuration to make it work... who knows if they can still be found as it appears they are electric now...
 
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