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TboltTX1
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Old Thunderbolt Blower

November 23rd, 2012, 1:58 pm

On a recent Thanksgiving trip to Houston I stopped by to get some pictures of my old Thunderbolt blower at a friend's house.

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I looked up the name Sutorbilt and found this website. Apparently they are still in business making roots blowers.
http://www.gardnerdenverproducts.com/blowers/sutorbilt/
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Here is what the motor ID tag says.
Phase: 3
Volts: 220
Cycles: 60
Temp.Rise: 40 Degrees Celsius
H.P: 7 1/2
R.P.M: 1750
Amps: 19.2
Type: 5M
Serial Number: 208074
Federal Enterprises, INC.
Chicago 19 Illinois, U.S.A.
Formerly Federal Electric Company, INC.
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Here is what the siren ID tag says.
Manufactured by Federal Enterprises, INC
Chicago Illinois, USA
Type: 1000
H.P: 10
Serial Number: T-447
Volts: 220
Cycles: 60
Phase: 3
Amps: Blank
Formerly Federal Electric Company
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The ID tag that was on the rotator box of my siren was sandblasted and now is unreadable. Could somone tell me how old this siren is using the serial number off of the ID tag that was on the blower frame?

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TNT1001
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November 23rd, 2012, 2:15 pm

I have an old thunderbolt blower too, it comes from a 1963 Thunderbolt 1000AT. Of course mine does not have as big as a pulley as yours.

Here are a couple of photos of it:
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Owner of a Federal Sign & Signal Thunderbolt 1000T, Model A, Model B9, SelecTone 300GC, Federal Electric Model D, and a Sterling 2v8 (4/5 dual tone)

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SirenTech Ind.
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November 23rd, 2012, 10:01 pm

The blower pulley seems enormous, is that normal? Were they trying to reduce the amount of air to the head?
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Age 16

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Jim Z
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November 23rd, 2012, 10:14 pm

SirenTech Ind. wrote:The blower pulley seems enormous, is that normal? Were they trying to reduce the amount of air to the head?


more or less. the siren needed a specific amount of airflow (~250 cfm) at a head pressure of about 5-6 psi. a larger blower will need to turn slower to generate that flow than a smaller blower would, so different blowers would need different pulley ratios.

also, if Federal bought different speed motors at various times, the pulley ratio would need to be changed too.

those old megablowers had to lope along pretty slowly to supply the thunderbolt's needs. the later, smaller blowers ran closer to the 1725 rpm motor speed.

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TboltTX1
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November 23rd, 2012, 10:59 pm

The hard part is trying to determine the year of manufacture using the serial number. Typically the last two digits represent the year it was built. With the serial number T-447, it would appear that it was manufactured in 1947, however I didn't think that Thunderbolts were mass produced before 1952. I'm really clueless now.

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Hacksaw
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November 23rd, 2012, 11:40 pm

"Federal Enterprises"? It's been a while since they used that name.

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Westgate Thunderbolt
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December 4th, 2012, 11:20 pm

Federal Enterprises, Incorporated started advertising production of the "new" Thunderbolt in 1952. The name Federal Enterprises, Incorporated was advertised up until 1954 when the company name was changed and advertised as Federal Sign and Signal Corporation. Given that information, that puts the age of your siren roughly somewhere between 1952 and 1953. You can date your siren closer than that by wether or not the projector horn on the siren head has the bars welded in it. The projector horns with the bars were the predecessor to the projector horns without. If it has the bars it is made in 1952. If it has no bars you are probably looking at some time in 1953.
Owner of a Federal Electric Model 2, Federal Sign and Signal SD-10, Federal Sign and Signal 1000(T) and a H.O.R. Si-Rex 7:10 Omnidirectional

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TboltTX1
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December 5th, 2012, 12:14 am

Mine must be a 1953 because it had a weather screen. One thing that I have noticed about my siren and some of the other older Houston sirens is that the screen brackets are different. For example...

This siren at Hennessay Park has screen brackets that are located near the corners of the horn and just hold the screen into the horn. Which is the same type of screen bracket as on my siren.

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However most of the newer Thunderbolts have screen brackets that are located near the middle sections of the horn and I believe they are actually bolted to the horn and the weather screen frame, unlike the previous version of brackets. Like on this siren at Northline Park.

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Anybody else notice this too?

Anyways, thanks Westgate Thunderbolt for helping identify the age of my siren. :)

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Westgate Thunderbolt
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December 5th, 2012, 12:39 am

I'm not 100% positive on the transition time frame between bars in the projector horn to no bars, but it has to be some time between 1952 and 1953.

You also stated that the data plate on your siren head is illegible. Unless your siren head isn't original to the blower as purchased, the data plates for the head and blower will both have identical data stamped into them.
Owner of a Federal Electric Model 2, Federal Sign and Signal SD-10, Federal Sign and Signal 1000(T) and a H.O.R. Si-Rex 7:10 Omnidirectional

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TboltTX1
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December 5th, 2012, 1:05 am

I am fairly positive that this is the original blower to the siren. That is the main reason why I was so happy to get the ID tag off of it.

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