30th Street’s Solari Board

The Solari board is an interesting creature.

They’re a form of display board that I most closely associated with railway stations before I started to research them.  One of the more known Solari boards was at Grand Central Station in New York City.  The first time I remember seeing a Solari board was in an old black and white movie that had a scene in a railway station.  No, I don’t remember the movie… just the board updating.

Compared to a digital display, a Soalri board has a personality and some intrigue about it.

How is that possible?

Well, check this out Solari board updating itself and tell me if there’s personality and intrigue in a Solari board compared to a LCD or LED display!

Sorry for the wiggle – this is hand held video taken of the Solari board at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.  Yes, I know, I preach tripod use… but sometimes, you just can’t travel with a tripod…

Why do I say it has personality?

Well, it has sound and action.  It doesn’t flicker – it’s very straightforward and direct.  It’s not like looking at a television or computer display to be told where to go or when to be there.

Why do I say it has intrigue?

Well, it’s like a carnival or casino game in that you don’t know what it’s going to say until it stops and is silent.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, there are exactly eight (8) Solari boards left in the U.S.  You can learn more about Solari boards, which are covered on Wikipedia in an entry called “Split-flap display” by clicking here.

This video is also posted on the Laughing Frog Images YouTube Channel.

The original video was shot in 4K format on a Lumia Icon.  It has been downsampled and reformatted for posting on YouTube.

New Videos posted to LFI YouTube

As I was moving and archiving files this morning, I came across a series of short videos I shot on my iPhone while waiting for a train.  I was actually at the station a little early that day!  I had actually forgotten that I took these.  I was always a little leery about “cell phone video”, but I’ve since learned (evolved?).

It’s kind of funny to say that you took these videos on your phone – at least to those of us of a certain age who remember the first mobile phones were the size of a shoe box!

And to others, it’s as normal as a sunrise.

And, who would have thought you could share things with the world in a matter of mouse clicks and minutes?

These are all short video clips of normal things if you travel by train on the Northeast Corridor.  For those who don’t, this is a glimpse into the life of some commuters’ daily routine between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD.

The Amtrak locomotives you see – the AEM-7’s – are nearing the end of their service lives, and within a year or two, catching them on video won’t be possible.  That’s what led me to post these.  They’re not the greatest quality videos – I get that.  But now, they’re memories.  And soon, they’ll be history.

These were all hand-held.  Yes, I know, I’m not using a tripod – but you can’t easily carry a tripod on a multi-city business trip.

You can check the videos out on the Laughing Frog Images YouTube Channel.