Pressure Lamps International

The American Self Lighting Lamp Co
The King Light Co

Rear of 4200, South Adams St, Peoria, Illinois, USA

 

There were several Self Lighting Lamp Companies trading in the last quarter of the 19th century, among them the Empire Self Lighting Lamp Co and the United Self Lighting Lamp Co.  These were almost a necessary part of the street lighting scene because as city gas and gasoline street lights cane into use in towns across America, the need for lamplighters to start the lamps in the evening and extinguish them in the morning became a significant element of the overall cost. The notion of a free standing self lighting domestic gasoline pressure lamp or lantern does seem rather unlikely, but there has been an unconfirmed report by another collector that The American Self Lighting Lamp Co did produce a traditional style (for the period) domestic lamp that was not self lighting. Further evidence is awaited, and any comments would be welcomed. As noted elsewhere, the absence of a particular brand of lamp in present day collections doesn't mean that it never existed.

To date, the earliest reference I have for this company's activities come from 1904, showing that they were active at least 100km from their base.

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From The Sterling Standard, 18 October 1904

 

Among the few printed references to this company are some newspaper advertisements from 1906 and a note in the Peoria City Directory from 1910 listing The King Light Co as successors to The American Self Lighting Lamp Co. so if a domestic gasoline lamp was manufactured it is likely to be either a gravity fed type or a hanging "Arc Lamp" type. In March 1906 they were advertising for a "gasoline man" so  they were certainly working with gasoline.

 

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From The Indianapolis Star, 18 March 1906

 

Mr Edward Seitz in the above advert was later recorded to be the president of the King Light Co, so it might be assumed that the change of name was simply that - a change of name while the business itself was just the same. Edward Seitz was born in Germany in 1854, and emigrated to the USA in 1872. he was listed as a manufacturer of beer coolers in the USA federal census of 1900, and as manufacturer of of lighting systems in 1910. he died in 1931 and is buried in Springdale Cemetery, Peoria.

 

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From The Green Bay Press Gazette 7 July 1906

 

In 1906 similar adverts for "reliable middle aged" men appeared in Wisconsin and Oklahoma as the business attempted to expand. By 1910 the name had changed to King Light Co, who were listed as manufacturers in the city directory, making lamps and gas machines. So far it seems they did not manufacture any free standing pressure lamps, if they did then no references are found in the collectors' forums.

 

kingPCD1910p466a2

 

The King Light Co was only a small concern in 1910, in addition to the president and general manager there were another twelve people employed there. There appear to be no further references after 1910, but Lockwood and Seitz continued working together in the lighting trade, evidenced by patent applications.

seitzpatent10812551913

Entered by Edward Seitz July 1909, patent granted December 1913, for maintenance free vaporizer.

 

The patent drawing shown below was entered 16 Sept 1912 and granted 25 January 1916. It is for a tubular mantle (cheaper to manufacture than the sock type) held with draw strings between two perforated burners suplied with "vapor"from a single generator. It's interesting to compare this with Coleman's patent granted in 1997 for a tubular mantle held in place by spring clips.

 

kingpatent11694111916
Lockwood's patent for a double ended burner and tube mantle


What eventually became of the King Light Co is not known at this stage, but it seems it may have been overwhelmed by the large and more productive companies of the day.

 

Addendum:

It is not often that the names of people involved is known, and just to add some sense of personal history, the names given in the Peoria Directory are reproduced here.

Edward Seitz, President
James Lockwood, Treasurer and General Manager
Edward Ritter, foreman
John Gaynan, worker
Mabel Kirk,worker,
Bert Thomas, worker,
Bartholomew Clark, collector,
Harvey Orr, worker
Nellie Rice, stenographer
Mamie Donaldson, stenographer
Jessie Hagel, shipping clerk
Myra Seitz, shipping clerk
Grace Taylor, book-keeper
Roy Rice, driver

 

References:

The Sterling Standard, 18 October 1904 p1

The Indianapolis Star, 18 March 1906 p22

Green Bay Press Gazette, 7 July 1906 p5

Peoria, Illinois, City Directory. Polk 1910

USA Federal census returns, 1900 and 1910

USA Patent records

 

 


 

 

 

 

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