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I lived in the Worcester Massachusetts area most of my life (born in 1973). Back in my early years (early-mid 70ís) the Worcester lights were mostly Incandescent and Mercury Vapor, from the different manufacturer designs available at the time. Incandescent fixtures of many configurations (radial wave, half moon, gumball, acorn globe styles) on the side streets and Merc's along the main roads. The only High Pressure Sodium (HPS) fixtures were in the center of the city (GE M400A's and American Electric/ITT/Thomas Betts model 25ís), Main St, Pleasant St, the I190/Rt12 interchange, I290 and maybe one here and one there amongst the Merc's dominance. Most Mercs on the main roads were the M400, M400A, AE model 25, Form 400, Line Materials, Revere and Westinghouse OV25. We also had the smaller M250A's, M250R's, M250R1, Line Materials Unistyle 175 and AE model 13 series MVís (to name a few) that were replacing the various incandescents on the side streets at that time. Worcester had an abundance of the "old green poles" of various variations, that used to line the city side streets. The "pie plates" were even cooler to see in the winter when icicles were hanging off the reflectors.
I started noticing streetlights around 2 or 3 years old. I used to watch sometimes, one radial wave incandescent fixture (that was up the street from me) come on at dusk and turn off at dawn. I thought they were really cool, thus, sparking my interest in them. By age 5, I had memorized most of my city's entire streetlight network (while on rides throughout Worcester). I was definitely interested in lighting/electrical and that passion has been with me ever since. However, I soon realized that nobody else around me had any interest in what I saw in street lighting, so I kept this mostly to myself.
As I grew up in the 80ís, I watched as the stylish, warm glowing incandescent radial waves were being replaced by Mercís, so I never had any real love for them at the time. I remember in March of 1985, coming home from school, I noticed that all the incandescent lights (the same ones I used to look at when I was 2 or 3) were all replaced with HPS GE M250R2 full cutoff (FCO) fixtures. At the time, I was so upset but, again, I had to keep it to myself (who would understand a kid who liked streetlights was my thought). I eventually warmed up to these new GE M250A2/R2 fixtures with their cutoff optics but I still miss seeing the streets lined with vintage incandescents.
However, with some of the incandescent fixtures coming down, that gave me the opportunity to try and save a few and start a collection. I got to know many of the guys from Mass Electric (Southbridge St, Worcester) either by visiting them at the company or on the road. I even received a few "old green poles" from them when they were being replaced (still have them). The managers, linemen, streetlight repair tech's etc.. at Mass Electric were so cool back in the 80's. They took a real interest (in this teenage boy) by helping me with my hobby. I used to be able to have any old fashion light they had hanging around, whenever I visited or saw their truck out and about.
By the late 80ís, HPS started moving into more neighborhoods by replacing all the Mercs. During the time I was in High School (Worcester Vocational Technical High School / Electrical: 1987-1991) Mass Electric started a 5 year phase out of any Mercs and (unfortunately) incandescent fixtures towards HPS. I was able to rescue a lot of different incandescent fixtures during this time (from Mass Electric and other local municipalities) for my collection. By the time the HPS conversion was done, 99% of Worcester was HPS consisting of cobrahead fixtures from GE, AE/Thomas Betts and Crouse Hinds/Cooper.
Around the early 90ís, I had started a streetlight rebuilding business. I had rebuilt 200+ HPS fixtures for private sales, until I went into the Air Force in 1995. While I was in the military, I still would notice lighting fixtures from time to time, while pursuing other interests. It wasnít until I got on the internet (1998) that I found out that I wasnít the only one with a lighting hobby. I found a few streetlight websites that educated me on what was out there, their histories of the fixtures, their enthusiasts along with the locations of some of these vintage fixtures.
In the past few years, there has been some opportunities that led me back into lighting. I decided to create this site, in order to share my information, to those who have the same passion for street lights.