What's This?
The Lancaster and Superfortress Navigator lamps seem to be rather curious too....

It's a rotor from a NSU Ro80
A rotary engine that has no pistons
Totally different to a "conventional" internal combustion engine

So why are we showing you this?

Well the first reason is to show you what Retro3a can do
Changing iconic items into beautiful display pieces
This rotor was in a pretty poor and rusty state when handed over
A valued gift from a friend who had helped to make a day rather special

So what was that day?
Well, the excellent Classic Cars magazine have a "bucket list" feature every month
Readers can say what cars they would like to drive, if given the opportunity
Mr Retro3a submitted his list
The NSU Ro80 was one of the cars
Design and engineering so far ahead of its time in many ways

And he was fortunate enough to be selected !
The article is in March 2024 edition
On sale from 17th January 2024
(no, I've no idea why the March edition is out in January either....)

It was a wonderful and enjoyable day
Many thanks to Classic Cars magazine, scribbler James Peene and snapper Stuart Collins
And a great new petrolhead friend and acclaimed NSU Ro80 guru Phil Blake who made it possible

Seems that Mr Retro3a is not just interested in old lamps
Must be an Engineering Thing.......
Under Development: The Retro3a/724 Rheostat

We're on a mission to do whatever we can to bring Air Ministry lamps back to a working life
After all, they are far too elegant to be locked away gathering dust
So we developed a LED-friendly rheostat unit to fit upstream of the lamp (see below)

But we're restless and love a challenge
Could we make a superb quality replica of the original rheostat?
One that was LED-friendly?

Seems that we can.....
Here's the prototype
A perfect facsimile of the rheostat body and control thumb wheel
On/off click-switch and seamless dimming control
Just like the original 

Alchemy in the Retro3a workshop !
Hand made and crafted by us

There's a lot of detail work and development behind this
The prototype is shown bolted to a standard mounting plate
But it can also be fixed direct to the cast type of mounting fork

If you're interested in this option, please get in touch
Maybe we can be persuaded to make a few more......?
New Product: The Retro3a Rheostat

We stock original MoD rheostats (on/off dimmer switches) for navigator lamps
These are a perfect match for various Navigator Lamp types, of course

  • The (12/24v DC) MoD rheostats are decades old and can't be guaranteed to work properly
  • We are now in the world of LEDs 
  • These run so much cooler than the original tungsten bulbs (which are being phased out)
  • They last longer and use far less energy
  • That's why we always recommend and supply suitable LEDs
But LEDs normally require a special type of dimmer
And not all LEDs can be dimmed

However, some Customers want their lamps to be dimmable - as well as enjoying benefits of LEDs

Could Retro3a help, they asked?
"No problem - we'll see what we can do" was the reply

We tried many dimmer switch and LED combinations
And we found no shortage of rubbish out there 
Kit that doesn't work properly (or at all) - or do what it claims
LED and dimmer combinations that produce flickering
Rheostats that seem to have a mind of their own and do strange things at random
Rheostats that don't actually switch off the power to the bulb holder
They just reduce the power to a level that's inadequate to power-up the LED
In our book, that's a waste of energy and unsafe

We found no "off the shelf" solutions that we would be willing to recommend or supply

But we don't like to be beaten......

So we decided to develop our own solution
It's small and unobtrusive (about 2.5" x 2" x 1.5" in old money)

It provides a true on/off and rheostat function between the power source and LED
The standard leads are about 6" long, but we can provide custom lengths if required
A combination of components individually selected and assembled by Retro3a
The unit can be easily installed or removed  (plug and play)
A quality solution that provides flicker-free and dimmable light

And here it is:
Filter Bezel & Filters

They said it couldn't be done !
However, "They" did not reckon on Retro3a's determination to find superb quality solutions

This is the C/1897 filter. Brass, of course!

The 5C/1898 filter lens is available in yellow or red 

If you think the original lamp shades are scarce, try finding an original filter !
It takes a lot of work (and special custom-made tooling and hand-fettling) to make these

The filter raises the 5C/1079's functional elegance to a whole new level.  The glow? Warm and soothing
These are made in batches, so please get in touch if you are interested.  

Good things are worth waiting for and your lamp has been waiting for this.....

Oh, and you may be wondering what the shiny lamp is.  It's a custom order. Marine spec bulkhead lamps for a rather special yacht
Other versions (colours/materials/dc or mains voltage) are available.  If of interest, please contact us

There's always something under development at Retro3a.....