Pressure Lamps International

Kayen Lamps
Kopsen & Nettlefolds (Australia)

©AWMoore 1999

Kayen is a contraction of the letters K and N, the initials of two Australian Companies, W. Kopsen & Co Pty Ltd of Kent Street, Sydney (first registered December1905) and T.S. Nettlefold & Sons Pty Ltd of Melbourne. These two held a licence for the import of Tilley lamps and components into Eastern Australia from the U.K. before WW2, and up to 1945. They were agents for Tilley and marketed a range of products similar (but not identical) to those sold in the U.K. The EX or Export model Tilleys were cheaper versions of the European lamps, and had less substantial ventilators, and more simple fuel control system. Towards the end of the war, import restrictions made it impossible for the two companies to continue importing Tilley products, so they arranged for the local manufacture of similar lamps. An advertisement in an Australian Hardware and Machinery catalogue dated March 1945 makes reference to the refusal of the Division of Import Procurement to issue further licences for the import of Tilley lamps. Kopsen and Nettlefold then indicated that they would be manufacturing "similar lamps under a different name", with parts which will be interchangeable with Tilley. It is not known whether the arrangement was formalised with Tilley, but it is thought that it would be so. In fact, Tilley products were imported once more into Australia in 1947, but Kayen brand lamps lanterns and heaters continued to be made for several years.

Three domestic models were made. The Kayen AP2 was an all purpose lantern similar to the Tilley EX4 and EX100 (export versions of the Tilley PL52 and PL53, but with a one piece wire handle and facility for a 12 inch reflector, and a more rounded ventilator). The Kayen HL7 a table lamp similar to the Tilley Tall table lamp, and the Kayen HR11, a radiator bowl fire similar to the Tilley R1. A Kayen floodlight along the lines of the Tilley FL6 has also been seen.

By September 1946, lantern Model AP2 and the tall table lamp HL7 were available, but supplies of the table lamp were limited. By 1952 the HR11 bowl fire was also available. It has been reported that differences existed between the Kopsen lamps and those made by Nettlefolds, and that components were not always interchangeable.


Image of Kayen AP2 taken from a 1952 Advertisement

Kayen were very popular lamps up to the mid 1950s, and not only in rural Australia. In the post-war years electricity blackouts were a fact of life in some cities as demand outstripped supply, and many people kept kerosene lamps for emergency lighting. By the mid 1950s these problems were overcome as new generating capacity was commissioned. The spread of rural electrification further diminished the kerosene lamp market away from the towns and cities. The year in which Kayen lamps ceased to be made is not known, but it is doubtful that the name survived into the 1960s.


Thanks to two Aussies, Stuart Barclay (Campbell's Creek) and Jim Dick (O'Connor, ACT) for the information about Kayen.



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