Old Hoboken Marbelite

When the City of Hoboken upgraded the traffic signals along Washington Street in 2018, I had the privilege of helping install the 1930s Horni signal from Washington & 1st in the Hoboken Historical Museum.  As a token of their appreciation, the museum staff gave us several other pieces of retired traffic equipment, including the circa 1947 Marbelite 4-way “cluster” signal that was taken down from Washington & 5th (photos above).

This signal had spent an incredible 70+ years in service. As the street photos show, it was in recent years hung from a modern aluminum truss mast – having outlived its original steel guy-wire mast. It was one of the signals I took notice of whenever I was in Hoboken, and I was delighted to take one of the four heads from the cluster home to my collection.

The Marbelite cluster, along with a yellow Econolite cluster from a couple blocks away, was stashed away for us in a dark corner of a Hoboken parking garage until Randy “3LiteGuy” Trezak and Mike Natale could come by to pick them up. They hauled the clusters to Randy’s place on Long Island for dismantling.

I swapped out the original Kopp 66 lenses for a set consisting of green and amber Marbelite No. 6540 lenses, plus a red Ruleta No. E 390 lens. These have a matching bead pattern, and were all made in the late ’30s or ’40s, when Marbelite and Ruleta were related companies. These lenses are among my favorites, especially because their colors do not adhere to the later standards. The green and amber came from another late ’40s Marbelite that collector Ian Anderson restored.

Incredibly, this light still has the original Horni-design glass reflectors mounted to the doors! Its this kind of vintage stuff that I enjoy most. The sockets were, unfortunately, poorly fitted replacements. But my sadness turned to joy when I was able to replace them with 3D-printed reproduction sockets made by collectors Matt Cornely and Larry Currie.