The Westinghouse AK-10 luminaire, commonly known in the lampfan world as the “cuplight” because it could hold coffee if upended, has been a reliable performer since the late 1940s. In New York City, it’s proven to be a versatile pendant accompanist, as it has buddied up with castiron posts like bishop crooks, Type Fs and Corvington boulevard lamps in the 1940s, transitioned smoothly to the new aluminum octagonal posts in the 1950s, and even, as seen here, the new Donald Deskey slotted poles that first proliferated in the early 1960s.

The “cups” weren’t paired with the Deskeys often; their strongholds were the various roadways on Randalls Island, as seen here, and also on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and Queens; when the Woodies began to falter there, at first the Deskeys, complete with AK-10s fitted with white mercury bulbs, took up the slack. But they disappeared in the early 1980s.

The AK-10’s remaining bailiwick these days is the lower deck of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, but the upcoming LED Revolution will likely wipe out those campaigners, as well.

Photo: Bob Mulero (who else).




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7 Responses to DESKEY CUPS

  1. Sandy Saltzman says:

    When I passed by the High Line section over 10th avenue and 30th street about six months ago,the six cuplights mounted on the underside of the structure were still working with incandescent lamps. Amazing that they escaped conversion to mercury or sodium.

  2. Earthdog says:

    The Lower Level VZ Bridge mainline AK-10s are no more. Sometime in 2013-14 the TBTA installed temporary metal-halide lighting in advance of the deck-replacement project. I recall NEMA bucket fixtures replacing the cuplights on the approach ramps when they were reconstructed back in the mid-late ’90s. Also there was a few mercury-vapor AK-10s at the Gowanus-Belt interchange that lasted until circa 2005 when they were replaced by HPS buckets.

  3. Sandy Saltzman says:

    Last year,e-bay had several listings of ak-10’s and bucket lights that were claimed to be from the Verrazano Bridge. The picture showed the seller had a large pile of the fixtures and they still had the section of pipe that was used to suspend them from the upper deck. I think the buy it now price was over $200 each. A photo of the inside of the fixtures showed them to be very corroded,I guess because of the salt air.

  4. Tal Barzilai says:

    Is that same deskey cup still there today or was it taken down a while ago?

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