Pressure Lamps International

Gloria Light Co.

1275 Washington Blvd, Chicago Ill. USA

©AWMoore 2016

The Gloria Light Co. was one of the pioneer companies operating out of Chicago, USA at the end of the 19th century. In 1895 they were at the heart of incandescent mantle lamp design and development, and in the early part of the 20th century were fiercely competitive with the other well known names in the lighting trade. Like most of the other lamp companies Gloria used a network of salesmen who effectively purchased a kind of franchise then worked on a commission basis, and they advertised regularly for salesmen in local and national publications.


Advert from September 1910


A company brochure from a slightly later period describes their influence on the development of lighting thus:

In no line of human endeavor has the inventive brain of the scientist contributed more to the world's progress and comfort than by the creation of artificial means of illumination. Particularly is this so when it is made possible to install a complete individual gas plant at a cost of installation and operation that is infinitesimal in comparison with any other means of producing artificial illumination. Anyone without mechanical knowledge can install and operate a lighting plant that makes its own gas from kerosene (coal oil) or gasoline.

Since 1895 our inventor has devoted his life to the improvement of hydro-carbon lighting devices. He has continued to simplify construction and increase efficiency. New improvements have followed each other in rapid succession and while each successive type to the superficial observer suggests similarity, each step has marked a decided improvement. These changes, this evolution has been continuous for twenty-two years, and today we offer the most perfect method of incandescent artificial lighting for all purposes. The fixtures are comparable, in so far as artistic design is concerned, to either electric or gas fixtures used anywhere for any purpose and will suit the taste of the most fastidious.

As an evidence of the many years that our inventor has devoted to this work, we direct particular attention to the fact that we own the basic patent and twenty-seven others covering broadly the principles engendered in the various constructions of the lamps and fixtures manufactured by us. In 1894-95 he invented the first system of hydro-carbon lamps in connection with which a hollow wire and tank were used, the basic principle being the combination of a vaporizing tube or generator in such close proximity to the mantle as to cause a continuous vaporization of the hydro-carbon oil, which in turn was mixed with the proper proportion of atmospheric air to produce a Bunsen flame of high heating intensity, which when applied to the mantle produced incandescence. The first portable lamp was invented in 1896; the interchangeable generator type in 1897; the automatic needle cleaner type, 1898, the match lighter lamp, 1898-99; Instantaneous lighting lamps, 1898-99. Other inventions followed in rapid succession which were the forerunners of the perfected systems and lamps now manufactured by the Gloria Light Company. The two most important inventions in this method of lighting in its commercial form, viz.: The inverted mantle lamp and the simplified interchangeable generator, were patented and placed upon the market in 1904-05. These improvements marked a very important epoch in simplifying and standardizing the construction of hydro-carbon lighting systems and lamps.

SIMPLICITY, DURABILITY and ECONOMY have been the constant aim of our inventor for twenty-two years. That he has succeeded is evidenced by the thousands of Gloria Light Systems in satisfactory use throughout the world.


We perhaps should feel a little sympathy for Our Inventor, he seems to have worked very hard and very successfully for many years, then passed into obscurity without leaving a name!

The date of the brochure's publication is not certain, but it is close to 1920, The earliest date would be 1917, the latest 1922. Gloria had already made a reputation for hollow wire lighting using either kerosene or gasoline, and it is known that Gloria products were exported around the world, and Gloria also manufactured products that were sold by other companies, such as the Best Street Light Co.. Hollow wire systems were still in use in South Australia in the 1950s, provided by the Gloria Light Coy. Pty. Ltd, 360 Post Office Place, Melbourne. As well as hollow wire, the Australian enterprise produced lanterns, including the model 100. It is not certain at this time what connection, if any, existed between the American and Australian companies.

In the USA, the Instanto table lamp and the OXO-Gas lantern No. 12 were among the first portable lighting appliances sold by Gloria. The Instanto was first sold sometime close to 1908, and was advertised as being so simple that it could be "taken apart and re-assembled without the use of tools."

gloria1 gloria2

Instanto (left) and the Oxo Gas lantern #12

Thanks to J. Henry Phillips of Austin, Texas, USA, who reports that there was an Oxo Gas Company in Erie, Pennsylvania, near Buffalo and Niagara. He cannot say whether there was a definite connection or not, but it is possible that there was a link with the OXO-Gas lantern name. The Erie Oxo Co. made purchases of industrial alcohol, possibly for use as fuel or simply for chemical processes or to thin lacquer, this in 1925-1928. That is all the information available at present, except that they bought the alcohol from Illinois Alcohol of Buffalo, a Belvidere, Ill. corporation which later (1928? 1929?) got into trouble over prohibition.


Gloria Light Co catalogues

J. Henry Phillips Pers Comm

Popular Mechanics Magazine September 1909 p23

Links to other sites

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