Pressure Lamps International - Empire Light

Pressure Lamps International

The Empire Light Co. Ltd

©AWMoore 2003

Little is known about the Empire Light Company Ltd, and there is every possibility that this company was simply representing one or other of the world's major lighting companies based in Europe or the USA. The only Empire Light address I have at present is 16, Victoria Square, Montreal, Canada. The attached postcard photo shows their offices somewhere around 1920, but the date is very uncertain.

empire 01

At first, you would be tempted to think that the tall building behind the statue of England's Queen Victoria is part of the Empire Light complex, but some computer enhancement reveals the name Mark Fisher & Sons right at the top behind the telegraph pole, and also along the facia above the ground floor windows. The smaller building on the left is the Empire Light offices. On the wall to the left of the building the words can be seen "The Worlds Cheapest Artificial Illuminant." and below, "The Empire Light burns coal gas, 1000 candle power for 2c per hour". At the bottom, "Canadian Agents for Empire Light Company Ltd. 16 Victoria Square"

In front of the statue is a gasoline pressure street light, "model number 100 Pillar Lamp-post" This petroleum vapour lamp is described as both handsome and convenient. The oil tank is in the base, locked. The commentary goes on to say that Empire Light also supply lamps giving the same illumination for store and factory use, as well as small types for houses. One of these small types can clearly be seen in the window to the left of the telegraph pole. Again, some computer enhancement suggests this smaller lamp is a free standing table lamp with the kero or gas reservoir at the bottom, with an ornamental shade over one or two mantles. I can't explain the see-through legs of the person in the foreground - maybe something to do with exposures on the original photograph!

In the absence of any other evidence, this photo suggests a number of possibilities.

1) Although printed in Canada by the News Pub. Co., Westmount, Quebec, the language on the commentary on the back is undoubtedly English - in particular the use of the words and spellings petroleum, not gasoline, vapour, not vapor. This suggests to me that there is a link to England or an English company. (OK, Canada was considered a dominion at that time, so there would always be a link anyway...)
2) Note the wording on the side wall of the building - Canadian Agents for Empire Light Company - so this is not a native Canadian company.
3) Note the wording on the top of the side wall - The World's Cheapest Artificial Illuminant. Suggests an international link, otherwise it would be Canada's cheapest.....

I think that the parent here might possibly be Kitson Empire Lighting Co. of Stamford, England. They had over 3 million lamps in use by the time of WW1, and were certainly advanced enough to be exporting after the end of the war. Street lighting was one facility that Kitson offered, and this could easily be migrated overseas. However, this is only a suggestion, and if you know different - tell me!


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

 If you have a lamp or lantern for sale you can advertise it here, free of charge. Just send a couple of photos and your location details. There are no hidden costs, I'll just pass on any inquiries and then you arrange the sale yourself. To avoid problems it's much better that buyer and seller arrange to meet and agree the sale, as I can't be responsible for lost packages or failed payments! If you can't meet, then always use shipping methods with signed-for delivery. ************** ...


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

Pressure Lamps International United Factories Co (Kansas City) 1316 1330 1332 1385 McGee Street, Kansas City (1908)1028 Wyandotte Street, Kansas City (1909)1841 Factory Building, Kansas City (1909)809 & 1043 Factory Building, Kansas City (1909)404 Goden & Keppel Building, Kansas   The North Carolina Advocate of 23 January 1908 describes (on p7) a new way for manufacturers to get their goods into the hands of consumers without "burdensome profits being tacked on by jobbers, ...

Foote Mfg

Pressure Lamps International Foote Mfg CoLiberty Lamp Co Dayton, Ohio, USA   It appears that the Foote Manufacturing Co operated out of Dayton, Ohio for only a relatively short time. Terry Marsh shows several of their lamps on his web site, and reports that the company existed from 1908 to 1917. You can see these at this location: Terry Marsh US Lamp Manufacturers A - F.   The earliest advertisements seem to be around 1908/9, then they continue for several years, when one ...