Thunderbolt
Restoration

Chopper Rotator

Blower

Siren Controls

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I got this Federal Thunderbolt 1000 in 2001 from Chase Frost. He bought a lot of old Thunderbolts which had originally been installed in Abilene Texas. I believe that this siren was installed sometime in the early 1960s or maybe even the late 1950's. This Thunderbolt is a single tone model 1000 series A Thunderbolt Siren. This section shows what I did during the restoration of this siren. This was the first Thunderbolt I had ever worked on so it was a real learning experience. This section shows my restoration and is also kind of a this-is-how-a-Thunderbolt-works section.

I usually describe the Thunderbolt siren as a Federal Model 2 siren in a can with a horn stuck on the side, mounted on top of a sign rotator with a small water treatment aerator blower to pump air through it.

This photo was taken in April 2002 just after I put on the Federal Thunderbolt decals and CD emblems. The FS Thunderbolt decals do have the later FS Federal Signal logo but I elected to put these on even though the siren should have the older circle F Federal logo because these Thunderbolt decals are original Federal decals. I didn't up any on the rotator box because I only had four original FS Thunderbolt decals at the time and I wanted to keep two in original unused condition.


This Thunderbolt siren sold to the Moss Lake community in North Texas in January 2006 along with another Thunderbolt that I purchased from Gainesville Texas. Both of these sirens are now in service at Moss Lake as severe weather warning sirens. The photo above is the horn/rotator unit of the siren I restored shown in this section. I put together a separate page showing both of the sirens at Moss Lake. I'm not sure how the paint has held up over the years. It might have bleached out by now (2014) because I painted it with Rustoleum Sunburst Yellow which has poor UV fade resistance. I didn't know anything about that at the time I painted it though. As of this writing (Oct 2014) I haven't been by there to see the siren in several years.


Condition Of Siren When I Brought It Home

The left photo above shows the blower and horn assembly when I first got it. The worst of the paint removal was already done when I got it. Thanks Chase! The blower air pipe, sticking up on the right, was cut off with a torch. I took the horn and had it sandblasted to finish the paint removal. Anyone else out there that is going to restore a Thunderbolt should look into having the horn sandblasted if they want to repaint it. Sandblasting is the easiest way to go with paint removal on one of these horns. The sandblaster got the horn down to bare clean metal all the way down inside the throat of the horn.


The right photo above shows the rotator/chopper housing assembly as it was when I got it. The top sheetmetal of this housing was damaged so it had to be straightened before painting. The rotator is surrounded in this photo with Civil Defense Packaged Disaster Hospital supplies I had recently aquired.


The Original Roots Blower (Yes.. I'm an idiot or at least I was...)

Here is the original huge-type (sorry I don't know the exact model number for this type) Sutorbilt roots blower that came with this siren. When I got the siren this blower was locked up due to water accumulating in the air pipe. I dumped this blower because I thought it couldn't be saved. Well...knowing what I know now that was a stupid move because it most likely could have broken loose without too much effort. I didn't know that at the time though so I replaced with a later model Thunderbolt A series blower as seen on my Thunderbolt blower page.