Off the rails
As a charging stand for your phone or tablet and laptop, this vintage railroad relay is a one-of-a-kind piece of functional art. As a stand alone piece atop a bookshelf or table, it’s a beautiful part of railroad history. This Union Switch and Signal DN-12 Neutral DC Relay was found at a tag sale and was covered in so much dirt it was barely recognizable. The seller, a retired railroad worker who was moving out of state, said that this older equipment is no longer in use by the railroad.
After careful cleaning, I decided to give the relay new life as a docking station for modern communication devices. The relay itself is in great vintage condition with expected signs of wear with hand-written notes and signature that are consistent with an inspection history. I used reclaimed wood and a variety of reclaimed hardware to create a cradle for the relay and devices. The clipped (black) wires have been left as found, but for anyone who wishes, they can be easily removed.
For anyone who loves railroading, signal electronics and/or transportation equipment — or just lots of hardware in a striking arrangement — this piece would be an awesome addition to home or office.
Please take a look at the photos and if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. This docking station weighs in at 13.5 lbs. (heavy enough to also be used a bookend) and measures approximately 6.25″ wide by 8.75″ high by 13″ long.
The Electrical Relay patent listed on the front of the relay (1797275) was filed by the Union Switch and Signal Co. in 1928 and published in 1931. The inventor credited is NOBLE C. SHAW.