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1950 Champion Gauge Glow in the Dark Paint

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  • Speedo/Tach/Gauges: 1950 Champion Gauge Glow in the Dark Paint

    My 1950 Champion has 2 gauge needles that have turned a bit rusty looking. I'd like to repaint them with the correct glow in the dark paint. Has anyone done this, and what is the correct paint and color to use? They look white, but give a greenish glow, so would I buy white, or should I buy green glow in the dark paint? Is acrylic paint from Michaels OK? Thanks

  • #2
    They were very light green tint, Off-White radium which is no longer deemed safe to sell/use.
    Yes they did glow, I would not think Arts and Crafts paint would work, but never tried it.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

    Comment


    • #3
      I used craft store phosphorescent paint on the needles on some of my 52 gauges. I don't know what color yours are, but I bought a yellow and a green. I don't remember which was the right color. I mixed the bright craft paint with some gray latex until it would dry very close to the existing color. (Experiment on scrap material first) The color I ended up with is too close to tell from the others and the needles glow. I think they will work like stock, but I don't have the stock lights hooked up yet.
      "In the heart of Arkansas."
      Searcy, Arkansas
      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
      1952 2R pickup

      Comment


      • #4
        I stopped at Michaels yesterday, and they had a bottle of glow in the dark Natural color. I'd have to paint the needle white first, then apply this paint. It was priced at Just under $2 and when I got to the register I told the lady I didn't have any coupon, so she scanned a 50% off coupon next to the register. So it was only 95 cents for what ebay wanted $8.00.

        Too bad we can't get the original radium.

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        • #5
          I don't believe they were radium. The '52 I owned for many years was phosphorescent. They only glowed when the instrument lights came on. If they had been radium they would have glowed without instrument lights. Also if they had been radium it's likely a lot of Studebaker owners would have had mutated children.
          American iron, real old school
          With two tone paint, it sure is cool

          Its got 8 cylinders and uses them all
          With an overdrive that just won't stall

          With a 4 barrel carb and dual exhausts
          With 4.23 gears it can really get lost

          Its got safety belts and I ain't scared
          The brakes are good and the tires are fair.

          Tried to sell her, but got no taker
          I"ll just keep driving my Studebaker

          Comment


          • #6
            You do remember that all the WWII Aircraft had Radium Instrument markings and after the ultra Violet Lens lights on the Stude. dashes are turned off, they do glow awhile correct?
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

            Comment


            • #7
              Indeed! While it may not exactly be radium (remember, Marie Curie used to walk around with raw radium in her pockets) the gauges in my '51 continue to glow after the lights are off.
              "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

              Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
              Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
              sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

              Comment


              • #8
                The old,out of business Westclox building is about 2 miles from where I sit. my mother-in-law and sister-in-law worked there.Some ladies had the job of painting clock faces with radium paint[on a tiny brush] To keep the brushes sharply pointed,they licked the bristles every so often..[The radium glowed all the time,and it was fun to stick there tongues out at their kids at night].I know they have a safe alternative for 'glow paint' now days,but it loses it's glow in a short time,after being exposed to light to be 'energized'..
                Oglesby,Il.

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                • #9
                  From Wikipedia:

                  Radium was formerly used in self-luminous paints for watches, nuclear panels, aircraft switches, clocks, and instrument dials. A typical self-luminous watch that uses radium paint contains around 1 microgram of radium.[30] In the mid-1920s, a lawsuit was filed against the United States Radium Corporation by five dying "Radium Girl" dial painters who had painted radium-based luminous paint on the dials of watches and clocks. The dial painters routinely licked their brushes to give them a fine point, thereby ingesting radium.[37] Their exposure to radium caused serious health effects which included sores, anemia, and bone cancer. This is because radium is treated as calcium by the body, and deposited in the bones, where radioactivity degrades marrow and can mutate bone cells.[38]
                  During the litigation, it was determined that the company's scientists and management had taken considerable precautions to protect themselves from the effects of radiation, yet had not seen fit to protect their employees. Worse, for several years the companies had attempted to cover up the effects and avoid liability by insisting that the Radium Girls were instead suffering from syphilis. This complete disregard for employee welfare had a significant impact on the formulation of occupational disease labor law.[39]
                  As a result of the lawsuit, the adverse effects of radioactivity became widely known, and radium-dial painters were instructed in proper safety precautions and provided with protective gear. In particular, dial painters no longer licked paint brushes to shape them (which caused some ingestion of radium salts). Radium was still used in dials as late as the 1960s, but there were no further injuries to dial painters. This highlighted that the harm to the Radium Girls could easily have been avoided.[40]
                  From the 1960s the use of radium paint was discontinued. In many cases luminous dials were implemented with non-radioactive fluorescent materials excited by light; such devices glow in the dark after exposure to light, but the glow fades.[38] Where indefinite self-luminosity in darkness was required, safer radioactive promethium or tritium paint was used; both continue to be used today.[41] These had the added advantage of not degrading the phosphor over time, unlike radium.[42] Tritium emits very low-energy beta radiation (even lower-energy than the beta radiation emitted by promethium)[8] which cannot penetrate the skin,[43] rather than the penetrating gamma radiation of radium and is regarded as safer. It has a half-life of 12 years.[44]
                  Clocks, watches, and instruments dating from the first half of the 20th century, often in military applications, may have been painted with radioactive luminous paint. They are usually no longer luminous; however, this is not due to radioactive decay of the radium (which has a half-life of 1600 years) but to the fluorescence of the zinc sulfide fluorescent medium being worn out by the radiation from the radium.[45] The appearance of an often thick layer of green or yellowish brown paint in devices from this period suggests a radioactive hazard. The radiation dose from an intact device is relatively low and usually not an acute risk; but the paint is dangerous if released and inhaled or ingested.[46][47]



                  Interesting reading on the "Radium Girls" entry as well...
                  KURTRUK
                  (read it backwards)




                  Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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                  • #10
                    What I get from this story is that the Stude. Gauges most likely DO in fact have Radium paint. Just don't breathe or eat it!

                    Quote:
                    "From the 1960s the use of radium paint was discontinued."
                    StudeRich
                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                      Just don't breathe or eat it!
                      However tempting it may seem.
                      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                      sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

                      Comment

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