Pressure Lamps International

The Otto Bernz Co. (13-37 Ashland Street, Newark, NJ)

Bernzomatic (Rochester, N.J.)

stillworking

This company was founded by Otto Bernz in 1876 in Newark, New Jersey, USA. The mainstay of his production was plumbing tools, and by 1916 Bernz was producing self heating soldering irons. It seems unlikely that he would have diversified into lighting manufacture, but we do know that he, along with other companies, sold badged products made elsewhere. (As an interesting aside, a method of making your own self heating soldering iron was published in 1905 in a model engineering magazine. The method was to cut off the wooden handle from a regular copper soldering iron and strap it to the side of a Bunsen burner using copper wire. One can only imagine.....!)

Bernz imported camping stoves from Sweden which were then marked with the Bernz decal. A similar process occurred with lanterns bought from Knight Light and Soda Fountain Co. during the 1920s. Some of these lanterns were modified by the addition of an integral pump to replace the external pump normally used. The pump was as used on Bernz' soldering equipment, a heave brass affair with a large ornate pump button. It seems that many lanterns from this period were not marked, or the markings were somewhat fragile and do not survive, so examples are rare and identification is difficult.

bernzpump

The distinctive Bernz pump knob used on some lanterns

 

The name changed to Bernzomatic around 1940, and the company continues to produce quality products, including lanterns fueled by liquid petroleum gas.

A brief company history can be found at http://www.bernzomatic.com/bernzomatic-history/

In July 1982 Bernzomatic became a division of Newell.

 

References

Pers Comm: Dr Jay.

Bernzomatic Web site http://www.bernzomatic.com

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