It finally looks as if I actually might have (after 5 months of research) found someone capable and willing to make borosilicate glass mouldings for me for the Miller 36E rear light in less than quantities upwards of 10,000 a Month! The main question is, who will buy them? All the ‘originality’ fetishists will steer a mile around them and I suspect that others will just not be bothered to spend money on something that ‘only’ contributes to road safety, and not to the ‘value’ of their precious bike. No one really cares if they can be seen (or anyone else riding the bike!) Go ahead, send your son, daughter wife or friend out on your bike with inadequate brakes, pre-historic tyres, poor lighting etc and if they get killed or endanger themselves in the process, at least the bike was like that when they built them! Not my fault!
These will not be cheap (tooling costs for me, too!), as the moulds have to be made of specific materials if to last and achieve a high standard of finish, and borosilicate glass needs the heat to reduce after moulding at a controlled rate, very slowly, while on it’s slow way down to cooling to room temperature in order to stop it shattering. The end result is an annealed glass that is very tough, resilient and heat resistant, but at a price. When it does break, it is into large pieces and so the risk of injury is reduced.
Other reasons for GLASS as a rear lens are, or should be, obvious. The glass will, in this case, be red glass. Not coloured on one side, but red through and through. The thickness of the glass will distribute an even light, and remain red, even when the brake-light is on, without going pink or orange. The inside will be stippled, giving a better refraction of the light available, while not being discernible from outside, unless the light is on, in which case it will only seem brighter than clear glass.
The glass will not deform through heat generated by the bulb(s), discolour or go ‘blind’ though age or cleaning. That, for me, is the clincher.
If this supplier can deliver the goods, I have other, pressing problems to attack! When did you last see a genuine Miller headlamp lens for a n 8” headlamp with the correct pattern? All the copies I have seen are not anything like the originals and have a Lucas Cat’s-eye. I have original spinnings of the 8-inch reflectors for both Lucas and Miller headlamps, and will look forward to being able to offer the correct lenses with them (fully compatible with the old switchgear and bulb-fittings if wanted) and upgradeable to Halogen or even low-wattage HID as standard.
The time has come for sense to return to the market. Why pay in excess of £300 for an original (and unrestored!) rear-light, handlebar-switch or brake-switch, when an absolutely authentic-looking, not-to-be-picked from the original part is available for a fraction of the cost? Most of my parts will be in stainless-steel where practical and otherwise will be made of the original materials. A pre-war Miller horn-button, for example, will be made, as they were then, out of brass and be painted black, with the same stamped Miller lighthouse on the nickel-plated, brass push-button. But not for £200…
© peter gouws 2013