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Fallout Shelter
Model Set

Polarized Light
Display Box

Royal Artillery Museum Exhibit

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Civil Defense Museum
Original Civil Defense Polarized Light Display Box. April-2009
In March of 2009 a lady sent me an e-mail asking me about an original polarized display box that her and her husband had in their possession for a number of years. They were going to sell it on ebay and wanted some information about the display box. I told her that the original display boxes like this are pretty few and far between. I wasn't able to get into some eBay bidding war over it at the time so I asked her for some photos of the box for the site and she was kind enough to send some photos of the box for the CDM. Thanks Cindy for taking the time to send the photos!

The box has a hinged frame on the front, a polarized film wheel, clock motor, round florescent lamp, ballast and starter inside. See my project description below for more details about how it works.

My Polarized Light Display Box Project. December-2006
Since I haven't been able to find one of the original display boxes for the one transparency I have in 20 plus years of collecting this stuff I decided to build my own. I spotted a couple of polarized light displays a while ago at a local Goodyear auto shop while having a tire patched. I instantly thought about the CD display and asked the manager to let me look inside the displays. The displays worked just as I suspected with the circular light and the motorized polarizing spinner between the light and transparency. The transparencies have polarized film on the back in the desired locations to make the parts of the artwork shimmer and appear in motion. I contacted the manufacturer of the Goodyear displays and asked if I could get the polarized spinner but didn't have any luck getting parts from them. I forgot about the idea until I went back to the Goodyear with another tire problem in November 2006 and noticed the displays were all gone from the sales area. I asked the manager where the displays were and he said the motors got noisy in them so he put them in the back. I asked him if I could take a look at them again and he offered to give me one of the small wall displays. Of course I took him up on the offer and used the motor, spinner bearing and light ballast from the Goodyear display box in this box. I had Garland Sheetmetal build the box because the Goodyear display box was the wrong size. A new motor mount had to be fabricated and I had to get a smaller bulb as well but it was a pretty straightforward build. I also had to get a smaller polarizing spinner wheel. I found Frank Woolley Co. in Reading PA that manufactured polarized displays and called them about parts. As it turned out they were just a few days from going out of business and I got the last 2 spinners they had in stock. Finally I'm able to display this transparency as it was meant to be displayed! Click the video link at the bottom of the page to get an idea of what it looks like in operation.
Here is the display box with the transparency in place and removed to show the spinner, light and motor assembly The transparency is held between 2 sheets of clear plastic.

My Polarized Light Box Video On Youtube

Here's a video of the lightbox in operation with some background music. The song is Fallout Shelter by Kevin Shegog

More polarized light box video links on the Art Gallery main page.