Home Index Site Map Up: Humboldt Navigation
Up: Humboldt
Humboldt Iron Works -- Improved Vault Lights
Home  > Prism Glass  > United States  > Humboldt  > Improved
Humboldt Paper
1 of 1

172 The Manufacturer and Builder. [August, 1875]

Improved Vault Lights.

    Only those who have exchanged the open iron grates on sidewalks or before stores, which admit both rain and cold, and make the space below almost useless, for the modern translucent and water-proof lights made of iron and glass, can appreciate their full value. By their means vaults under the sidewalks, which otherwise are either dark or exposed to all the vicissitudes of the weather, of rain and wind, heat and cold, may be changed into cheerful rooms, with plenty of light, cool in summer and warm in winter, and adapted to any purpose for which a well-lighted and protected room may be used. It is not surprising that these vault-covers have become popular, and that no other contrivances in the construction of buildings have, during the past few years, come into such general use.
    In many instances however there have been continuous complaints of leakages on one side and absence of ventilation on the other, of continual breakage, and necessary repairs, which require an expert to accomplish. The difficulties attending the use of the old-fashioned vault-lights have been entirely overcome by the Humboldt Iron Works, of 152 Center street, New York. They have invented, patented, and introduced into the market a new article which obviates the possibility of any of the complaints above stated.
    The vault-light, or so-called translucent tile, made of iron and glass, as manufactured by them, presents the novel and ingenious feature that the glass is inserted and fastened by means of a peculiar clutch or lock -- and thus locked, the tile become thoroughly water-tight, it being impossible for the water to get through. Again, in the summer time, when the atmosphere may be close, or even suffocating, in the lower basement or front area of a building, the glass of the tile can be easily removed and replaced at pleasure. It is evident that notwithstanding it is easy to remove the glasses, they can not possibly get loose in their settings of their own accord. Repairs can thus be easily made in case these should become necessary, which is not very likely, as the tile is so constructed as to counteract the breaking of the glass by expansion or contraction of the plate. A noticeable and important feature of these tiles is that the lenses are made on scientific principles, collecting more light and diffusing it with greater efficiency than the other styles of lenses thus far in use in other lights.
    The manner in which the glasses are fastened into the iron frame is as simple as it is ingenious and effective. As shown in Fig. 1, the round iron opening is provided with two projections or studs, and the glass with two notches, into which the iron projections fit when dropped into their place from above, then they have only to be turned round to tighten them, for which purpose a plain wrench is provided, with two arms fitting into the two notches or grooves in the glass, when, on the principle of the bayonet attachment, they are made as tight as desired. The space between the glass and iron can be filled in with white lead or its equivalent, but it has been found much better to use a gasket of elastic material, composed of rubber with oxide of zinc or their equivalents, which always makes a perfectly tight and reliable joint, permitting the glass to be removed at any time by simply turning it back, when this removal is desired for the purpose of ventilation. Fig. 1 -- Perspective View of Front of Building, with Light.
    Triangular or other forms or projections cast in the iron between the opening intended to receive the glass, are for the double purpose of protecting the glass surface from damage, and of giving a better foothold to pedestrians in winter when covered by ice, as those projections are a little higher than the centers of the lenticular glasses.
    Fig. 1 represents the lights as they appear when inserted in the front of a building. Fig. 3 gives a view of a hexagonal light as seen from above; while Fig. 2 gives on a large scale a sectional view of the manner in which the glass is inserted; one glass, that at the left-hand side, is seen above the opening, intended to receive it, at the right-hand side the empty opening, and between, the glass is dropped in and turned round to fix it firmly, by the notches catching in the bayonet-like grooves.
Fig. 2 -- Sectional View of the Manner of Connecting the Glass.

Fig. 3 -- Hexagonal Vault-Light of Iron and Glass     A recent improvement consists of two elevated ridges around the glass where it touches the water-tight gasket, which is found to last longer and is more durable than any material heretofore used; they are intended to secure greater tightness in the fitting. An incidental advantage of the elastic rubber ring is that it is also prevents the breaking of the glass by contraction of the iron, loosening by expansion, thereby saving the very great annoyance and expense heretofore experienced, while it annuls the effect of a blow on the top of the glass, which, in case the glass is anywhere resting on the iron, may start a crack.
    These lights have been called by the manufacturers Patent Lock Glass Tile, and are adapted to vaults, platforms, areas, sky, ship, and other lights, and even for illuminating signs.
    This concern deserves great credit for having placed before the community an article which so thoroughly improves the material very generally used now in the construction of fronts of stores and private residences, and which must ultimately revolutionize that entire branch of the building trade. We would advise all builders, iron-men, and property owners to visit their establishment, where they will find, in addition, other articles that will attract their attention.