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Author Topic: Mercury bulbs  (Read 430 times)

Offline Sue J

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Mercury bulbs
« on: August 19, 2017, 04:56:48 pm »
I have a string of small bulbs, about 2 inches each, direct wired (no socket), with what seems like a considerable amount of mercury in them for their size. Some are labeled Maytag, 2-140. I don't know where they would have been used, or for what purpose, or anything else for that matter. It seems strange to have six of them wired to a central bar, also labeled Maytag. It almost seems like they might have been panel lights or indicator lights for something, but wouldn't the mercury make them really bright? Is there likely to be any interest in them since I can't really see them fitting in my collection of mechanical items.

Offline Tim

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Re: Mercury bulbs
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2017, 08:32:37 pm »
This appears to be a mercury switch rather than a light producing bulb.  More info here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_switch

Offline adam2

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Re: Mercury bulbs
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 08:39:57 am »
Yes, look like mercury switches not lamps.
Maytag are a well known American manufacturer of laundry equipment both domestic and for coin operated laundries and industrial use.

A bank of six switches might be for switching a 3 phase motor in an industrial washing or drying machine. The advantage of mercury switches over conventional relays or contactors is that the contact life is almost unlimited, valuable for say an industrial washing machine that might reverse the drive motor dozens of times per wash cycle.