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The Graybar Sunshine Carbon Arc Health Lamp
 
 
 
A vintage Graybar Sunshine Carbon Arc Health Lamp, acquired by Larry Brian Radka, the architect of this website, on Ebay, is portrayed in the photographs above and below.  It measures about 19 inches in height and 14 in width, and The Saturday Evening Post's 1930 advertisement of this beautiful tanning arc light sets forth some of its other features below:
 
 
 
For those who cannot easily make out the text in the advertisement, it reads as follows:
 
“Yes, they’re both PALM BEACH

“‘Sun served’ people!  What if you can’t go to the beach for a sun-bath these winter days! Beach sunshine . . . glorious, vitamin-laden sunshine . . . can come to you.  Right in your home!  Any weather.  Any hour, day or night.  Any season. Anywhere.  At the mere touch of a handy lever on the Graybar Sunshine Health Lamp.

“It’s one of the great discoveries of the decade!  The story?  Below . . .

“About the Graybar Sunshine Health Lamp

“It does for you what natural sunshine does. And what’s more . . . just imagine getting those stimulating healthful rays all over your body . . . with no clothes to interfere!

“Convenient? Use it on any table! . . . Safe?  To prevent over-exposure the current goes off automatically after 7 minutes . . . Pleasant?  Oh, what soothing, relaxing warmth! . . . Quality?  Backed by Graybar, the oldest electrical distributor . . . Price?  Reasonable! Coupon below.  Mail it.

“(Note: This lamp is not offered as a ‘Cure All.’  In case of any specific ailment, consult your doctor.)”

The price, as indicated in the advertisement above, was “$49.50” but “Slightly higher West of Rockies.”

The lamp Larry acquired is a very smooth running arc light that meets all of the expectations set forth in the ad above.

 

 
Above is another picture of the Graybar Sunshine lamp.  Note that it uses large carbons, and an adjustable plate as well a a fold-down screen to prevent random sparks from flying out.  Its heavy cast iron face and base support a small drawer to remove any falling carbon residue.  However, nearly all of the vaporized carbon and heat is sent upward through the vents at the top, which are illustrated below:
 
 
Note the white vaporized carbon residue under the hinged vent atop the sunshine lamp.  (White carbon residue from ancient arc lamps blended in well with the white walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.)  Inside we see two ends of the carbons connected with bare wire covered by ceramic or porcelain beads, which can readily withstand the head emitted by the red-hot rheostat located below.  The coiled rheostat, much like those found in portable heaters,  limits the current to the arcs, which operate in a series circuit.
 
 
From the name plate above, on the back of the arc lamp, we see that it can operate on 110-volt Alternating or Direct Current at 12 amperes.  This adds up, according to Ohm's Law, to a power dissipation in the rheostat of 1320 watts that equals the power provied by a mighty fine portable electric heater.  So using a carbon arc sunshine lamp on a northern winter day would serve two advantageous purposes, to tan the skin and warm the room at the same time.
 
And the Graybar Sunshine carbon arc health lamp was indeed an active participant. 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 
This page was last modified on Tuesday, January 19, 2016