Pressure Lamps International

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

Bernzomatic (Rochester, N.J.)


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.


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

In July 1982 Bernzomatic became a division of Newell.



Pers Comm: Dr Jay.

Bernzomatic Web site

Links to other sites

Links to other sites - this page is desperately in need of an update! It's coming soon, but in the meantime here are a few of the best internet sites for lamp collectors.   David Greenwood - a knowledgeable and friendly collector is at    Currently off-line Fil Graf has one of the original reference sites at Juan has a good site for Focus and Petromax at ...

Lamps for Sale

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This is where you can display a photo of a pressure lamp spotted in an unexpected place. (Actually, some places might be expected, so send the photos in anyway)   A couple of Petromax lanterns in amongst the baking produce at Smith's Farm Shop, Chapel Brampton Rushden Railway Museum, Sept 2016 The lamp collection at Rushden, no BR49 there!                    x

United Factories

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Foote Mfg

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