Tank Inspection Lamp

Here’s an interesting problem for you…you are a member of an RAF groundcrew in the Second World War and you need to inspect the inside of an aircraft’s fuel tanks to see if there is any damage- how do you make a visual inspection of the interior? The only access is through the fuel port and this is a small hole that does not allow you to see every corner of the tank to make an inspection…what do you do?

You obviously need a specialist tool for this job and so you reach for your tank inspection lamp:

This instrument consits of a bulb at one end of a long viewing tube:

With the light lit at this end it is passed into the fuel tank and by looking through the rubber eye piece at the opposite end (now badly perished) it is possible to look into the fuel tank:

The thumb wheel visible in the image above moves a rod down the length of the tube that then angles the light head back and forth in order to direct the light into every corner of the fuel tank:

A glass prism is fitted to the base of the bulb holder that redirects the view of the eye so it can see in the same direction as the light, even when it has been angled:

The tank inspection light’s designation and the /|\ mark of military ownership is stamped into the housing for the angling knob:

The stores code of 5A/1314 indicates that this is a piece of RAF equipment. The code is repeated on the wooden box used to store the instrument:

The box has a set of felt covered blocks inside to hold the lamp steady. A rubberised pad was included at the bulb end, however this has perished over the years, perhaps explaining why the glass and bulb at the light end are long since smashed and missing:

The maker’s name of WG Pye is stencilled onto the lid in white paint, along with the aforementioned stores code and a description of the instument:

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