When I was a kid I had a night light next to my bed that I used to watch until I fell asleep. The lamp was powered by one bulb,100W I think, which generated quite a bit of heat.
The lamp consisted of a stand and a wire frame. The frame had a sharp point on top, and a cylindrical tube rode on the pivot, suspended by a centered cup on the cylinder’s top end, so it was free to rotate. At the top of the cylinder were vanes, like a little turbine, and as the hot air rose from the bulb and went through the blades, the whole cylinder rotated on the pivot. Outside the cylinder was another cylinder, but this one was fixed, not free to rotate. Both cylinders were translucent, and had things painted on them, the fixed one had an old-timey train, the inner one had a landscape, clouds, and smoke from the train’s stack.
As one cylinder rotated inside the other, illuminated by the bright light within, it gave the illusion of an old wood-burning train racing through the countryside, belching smoke as it went past houses, trees, fences, farms, mountains etc. Of course, the scenes repeated themselves every couple of seconds, but it still looked neat. The whole technology is pretty simple and straight forward, and even as a little kid I could easily figure out how it worked.
But I still found it fascinating, and very soothing, and usually fell asleep watching it, fascinated by that train. It got extremely hot, of course, and even though the cylinders were some sort of treated paper, I’m sure the lamp was a fire hazard and that’s probably why they quit making them.
I understand these are called motion lamps, and they are bringing hot prices on the collector’s market. Did any of you have one as a kid?
This one is very similar to the one I had.