Since he was a child, Haragovics József had an interest in railway lamps. He created this very one-of-a-kind museum from his collection. On our visit, he welcomed us in his railway man’s outfit. The museum is located in a one hundred-year old peasant house with open arched veranda, a very typical Hungarian style of architecture. In the front room (tiszta szoba), you’ll find around 300 railway lamps, each of which is unique and has its own special story.
There are lamps from many countries, from every country of Europe, but also from Japan, Mongolia, India, Sri Lanka, the USA, Canada, Cuba and New Zealand.
The very first lamps used candles; later they burned rape oil (repce olaj), and then the rail companies switched to using petroleum. Carbide and propane-butane gas were also used. Electric lamps were used with steam engines, where a steam powered dynamo generated the electricity. Later, the petroleum lamps were changed to electric, where the shape stayed the same, and the wick was replaced with a bulb. There were also hybrids which, to be on the safe side, could be switched to petroleum, in case there was an electric outage.
The museum’s oldest piece dates from 1838 and 1860. One can conclude its age by the initials found on the lamp: K. F. N. B. (Kaiser Ferdinand Nord Bahn). The museum also has modern lamps, which have LED diodes.
Haragovics József got the first piece of his collection when he was 24 years old. The corner beacon Krolupper type lamp he received 36 years-ago. This first of its kind lamp was placed on the corner of the last car, shining white frontward, and red backward in the dark, reassuring the conductor that the last car was not lost.
To listen to Mr. Haragovics talking about his treasures is a pleasure. His enthusiasm is reflected in his stories, when he tells the way he acquired and restored the pieces for the last 36 years.
The Railway Lamp Museum (Lámpamúzeum) is located on
Soproni út 13
e mail: email@example.com
His website reads:
The exhibition showing the special lamps once used in the Hungarian railway network is unique in its kind. As for their shape, function and lighting technique, each lamp is considered to be a special one. We can find such rarities here which are masterpieces of design and manufacture. There’s a lamp which not only lights but also generates electricity and boils water for tea. Haragovics József collected the exhibits over 30 years with very special methods. Once he has obtained a piece, he starts a detailed, careful job on it to make it look nice. He has also searched for exact documents which prove the origin of the lamps and their ways of usage. The lamps tell us how a piece of junk can become an industrial masterpiece in the hands of a passionate man who loves his profession.