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Thread: The Bartow HILV system

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    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default The Bartow HILV system

    I am opening this thread as so little information is known about this very important WWII system. Air Ministry supplied lighting was of little use to the Eighth Air Force who operated principally in daylight. British weather was a serious problem to the USAAF squadrons who needed to take off safely and quickly in order that the formations could assemble easily. Landing was the other obvious problem. An answer came from aviator Jack 'Red' Bartow who had designed and produced a new system which had been successfully tested at a 'problem' airfield in Newfoundland. From mid 1944 seventy sets of the equipment arrived and were installed in the UK. Audit thread here .

    The official name was HILV (High-Intensity, Low-Visibility) which was usually abbreviated to 'High Lighting'. The Americans often referred to it as 'Bartow'. It was an elevated high-intensity system, with complex lighting units spaced at 60 metre intervals and 5 metres out from the runway edge. More units then extended on poles for further 800 metres at each end of the runway to form an approach avenue. The 200 watt fittings were installed on the main runway only, and being elevated ,were damaged at a much higher rate than anticipated.

    I recently purchased a Bartow unit (Ebay) which is in the process of restoration. It had been converted to 240 volt operation and unfortunately several items are missing - the internal lens assembly, the shorting switch, film cut-out and the (anti-condensation) fan and transformer. It was a physically large and ambitious piece of kit for its time, with an external spirit level, plus a level adjusting tool which was stored inside the case.

    A fine bottle of 1998 Arco del Castillo Yelca, with an August 1944 Bartow unit for scale


    Below: The unit with the top removed. The reflector has its back to the runway. Elevation and Coning adjustment scales are shown in black.


    This produces a beam pattern as below. Two units, as shown, produce curtains of light with very little falling on the runway itself.



    The units were made by The Line Manufacturing Company of Pennsylvania , under license from Bartow Beacons Inc. There is no information in TNA or on the web. I would like to discover which 70 airfields were equipped. What happened to the system post war? Currently Ridgewell, Honington are the only confirmed USAAF bases. It is known that 'some' RAF stations (including Hemswell and Leuchars) were equipped. The only other light unit I have seen was in the museum at Woodhall Spa.

    The system can be seen operating in 'Night Bombers' here. At 32:20 a Hemswell Lanc can be seen passing the twin threshold markers by the side of the runway. A few seconds later on take-off (32:42) the units can be seen at the edge of the runway. A night landing is shown at 44:29.

    Graham
    Last edited by Carnaby; 02-03-2013 at 22:05. Reason: video link updated

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Hi there, my father and I purchased an all in tact bartow hilv runway light as pictured in posts #28 and #29. I am interesting in finding out it's value. If anyone here could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. Pictures and more information will be provided as needed.
    Thank you for reading my post
    Eric
    Last edited by Eric; 30-05-2011 at 21:25. Reason: Add information

  3. #3
    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Hi Eric, and welcome to AiX. Sadly it appears that they aren't worth very much as the last two Ebay items failed to sell. It will be interesting to see just how 'complete' your specimen is.

    Gareth, the seller of the recent item kindly sent me some pictures which were especially interesting as they showed components missing from other samples I've seen.

    The photo below shows the anti-condensation fan (left), its transformer (right), and the cut-out assembly (front).


    A close-up of the cut-out assembly



    Four spare thin-film cut-out discs



    View into top cover - cut-out actuator on right


    The cut-out assembly contained two sprung metal plates connected via wires, across the lamp itself. Between the plates was placed a thin-film disc. If the lamp filament failed, several hundred volts would appear across this device which would cause it to short circuit, and thus maintain the series current for all the other lights in the chain.

    Also, when the lid was opened the actuator shorted these two plates together thus disconnecting the lamp for maintenance purposes.

    EDIT: Having had a closer inspection I now suspect the the thin-film device was inserted between the two sprung plates in the lid, which were insulated from each other. With the lid open the ceramic device in the bowl (containing two sprung 'cheeks'), shorted itself, thus cutting power to the lamp. Closing the lid forced these two 'cheeks' apart which applied power to the filament and put the thin-film device into circuit.
    Last edited by Carnaby; 07-06-2011 at 15:29. Reason: More info

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    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Possible additions to the HILV Installation list from photos in Airfields of the Eighth - Then and Now:

    Bungay (unclear)
    Debach
    Deopham Green (unclear)
    Horsham St Faith
    Seething
    Snetterton Heath

    Most of these are due to visible parallel lines extending from the main runway ends in the correct place for the HILV approach corridor, so will have to be checked against period ground photos to confirm.
    The Horsham St Faith image is pretty conclusive though, showing the paired lights at the runway end, and at least one other runway edge light. (There may even be a glimpse of a totem pole on the edge of the image... )

    Edit: See THIS post for a closeup of the photo, which I can now see shows both pairs of runway end lights.

    All the best,
    PB
    Last edited by P Bellamy; 07-06-2011 at 15:06.

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    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Two more photos of the HILV installation at Horsham St Faith, both taken at the northeastern end of the wartime main runway.

    The paired threshold lights can be seen on the right hand side of this photo.


    The cameraman was closer to the end of the runway for this next shot.
    Approach light or glide slope indicator in the foreground? It's partner on the opposite side of the runway can be seen below the B-24's port fin in the first photo:


    All the best,
    PB

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Quote Originally Posted by P Bellamy View Post
    Approach light or glide slope indicator in the foreground?
    Looks like the standard Drem Mk.II unit as shown in AP3236 (Works)

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Thank you for this site it has been an education.I have had for about 20 years this Bartow light .Until now I have known nothing about it .For that I thank you.

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Thank you for the information on the Bartow light.I have had this one for about 25 years and until now have not known anything about it.Stamped into the lid was Aug 22 1945 and the other stamp is unclear but it seems to be SGE T.O. 08-20-35 . The Serial is 45-37815
    000_1081.jpg000_1068.jpg000_1082.jpg000_1083.jpg000_1077.jpg

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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    Hi, my name's Gianni and Iím are passionate about collecting and fixing antiques. We have an old military lamp such as the one described on this forum:

    Line Material Co.
    Patent 2555295
    The Bartlow HIV system

    We have an original lamp, however there is no glass cover on our original lamp. We are very keen to find out if any-one knows how or where we can replace the glass on our original lamp and how much it

    Alternatively, we would also be interested in purchasing a replacement lamp, if any-one is selling one.

    If you have any information about how to get the glass for these lamps, or about how to buy another original lamp, please contact me.

    Thanks!

    Gianni
    (27.02.2012)

    graimondi@gmail.com

  10. #10
    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Bartow HILV system

    HILV at Driffield in 1949?

    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/je...fastest-school

    Clearest views of what appear to be HILV lamps are via the stills for 1:46 to 1:50.

    There are some nice shots from inside the Tower showing the lighting mimic board etc. straight after too.

    All the best,
    PB
    Last edited by P Bellamy; 22-09-2012 at 14:12.

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