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John Burchfield
09-02-2009, 12:22 PM
I guess this is the most appropriate place to post this. A guy who has done a lot of painting for me collects old motorcycles. He's been to Hershey several times and some other big shows. He's been painting my house and told me about an old copper siren he picked up somewhere. He showed it to me and I thought I'd put up a couple of photos to see if anyone could identify it and give some more information. It's a 6 volt Mars model S60. The copper case is unusual (at least to me). I wonder if the original chrome plating had worn and someone removed it? It is similar size to the Federal "volunteer" class.

John Dorgan - Deceased - 1938 - 2012
09-02-2009, 12:53 PM
John,
What you have is a MARS S-60 siren. Originally it would have been either chromed or painted. It was never sold without a finish of one kind or the other. Obviously, someone has removed the original finish. It is larger than the Federal Volunteer size siren. It was made to compete with Federal's W series sirens.
John Dorgan

Jeremy D. Ledford
09-02-2009, 02:23 PM
Although thats not the way it came new but the copper finish does give it a very unique look though.

John Burchfield
09-02-2009, 10:45 PM
John,
What you have is a MARS S-60 siren. Originally it would have been either chromed or painted. It was never sold without a finish of one kind or the other. Obviously, someone has removed the original finish. It is larger than the Federal Volunteer size siren. It was made to compete with Federal's W series sirens.
John Dorgan

Thanks John! Do you know the approximate dates this model was in production? My painter said he was thinking about putting some clear laquer on it to reduce the discoloration it gets from handling. What was the rationale for using copper for the siren case?

Charles E Snyder, II
09-03-2009, 06:40 AM
I agree Jeremy. I think that the copper color gives it a neat look. I thought that maybe it was ordered for a particular livery in that color. The copper would go nice with a couple of different color combinations that I can think of.



If I am not mistaken, copper is a base for the chrome process. There is usually a steel base and then two layers of different metals before the chrome is put over it all. The copper is one of those layers. Since I couldn't remember what the other layer was, I went to Google and found this...chrome sits best on nickel which itself adheres very well to copper - this combination also offers the best corrosion protection resistance.So, base steel, copper, nickel, chrome.

John ED Renstrom
09-03-2009, 10:15 AM
one would guess they pulled the painted one off the line right after the copper plating. as if some one sandblasted the chrome and nickle off some of the copper would be gone to. buff it up and put a layer of clear on it will keep the copper glow for some time. but the UV will turn it black after a bit.

John Dorgan - Deceased - 1938 - 2012
09-03-2009, 12:24 PM
This siren is NOT copper plated. The material of the shell is spun sheet copper. Copper was used by Sterling as well as a sheet metal material for their siren housings. Copper is very maleable and quite easy to spin.
Siren housings have been made of brass, copper, pot metal and steel. It all depends on the manufacturer and time of manufacture.
As a purist, I prefer to see sirens displayed in their original condition.
The MARS S-60 siren was probably made in the 1950-1970 era.
John Dorgan

John Dorgan - Deceased - 1938 - 2012
09-03-2009, 12:26 PM
Ed,
It was more than likely a painted siren originally, as it is a simple matter to use a paint remover to expose the copper shell underneath.
John Dorgan

one would guess they pulled the painted one off the line right after the copper plating. as if some one sandblasted the chrome and nickle off some of the copper would be gone to. buff it up and put a layer of clear on it will keep the copper glow for some time. but the UV will turn it black after a bit.

Jeremy D. Ledford
09-03-2009, 12:58 PM
The material of the shell is spun sheet copper.
John Dorgan

I have a 6-Volt Sireno that was orginaly painted red that had the copper housing (cone) and brass base. Its suppose to have a light assembly on the front of the rotor but I'm missing that peice on it altogether. When I find that part I will repaint it back red.

Charles E Snyder, II
09-03-2009, 02:39 PM
Thanks John, that clears up a lot.

I knew that the process of putting chrome on steel involved a layer of copper, but what I couldn't figure out was how the chrome and nickle were removed without damage to the copper. Learned something new today... that's a good thing. One can never have enough knowledge rattling around upstairs.

John ED Renstrom
09-03-2009, 10:35 PM
thanks John, they were made in the day when copper was cheaper. and as you said vary malleable. it would even save a step in plating. be easy to hammer back out if damaged. the manufacturing process is fascinating to me. they are able to build a machine that will turn things out one after another. each the same all day long. if this one is 6 volt it must be a early one.