Pressure Lamps International

Nagel Chase Manufacturing Co.

143 West Ohio Street, Chicago Ill USA (1910)
151 West Ohio Street, Chicago
242 E Erie Street, Chicago (1923)

©AWMoore 20015

Nagel Chase Mfg Co dates back to around 1908, when the company was started in Chicago, Illinois, in all by gentlemen by the name of Theodore Nagel & Guy Chase, possibly settlers from the previous century, or their descendants. There is some suggestion that Nagel Chase were operational some 5 years earlier, possibly using a different name. Their light engineering products included lighting components and machinery, and names such as Dreadnought, Wizard and Quicklit were known around the USA. Early lighting systems were of the Hollow Wire type, with free standing lanterns appearing around 1910. Nagel Chase still exists, and is probably most well known today for it's V pulleys.


Advertisement fro Nov 1910



 Large advert from February 1911




Nagel Chase letterhead dated 1918


tn 01

Theodore Nagel

The company president was Theodore Nagel, who gave his initials to a high temperature steel alloy called Thena metal, much note of which was made in early advertisements (see advert below at bottom of page) but whose properties now seem to have been lost in the vaults of time. (Thena Smith was Florence Nightingale's cousin, but it's not likely there is any association!). By the time Nagel Chase were prominent in the lighting business the other half of the company name, Guy M. Chase, was company secretary and A. G. Radomski was company sales manager. Like most other large American manufacturers at that time, Nagel Chase used agencies as sales outlets throughout the USA, offering big discounts off the listed prices.

Between 1910 and 1920 their products included hollow wire and individual gravity and pressure lighting, indoor and outdoor, with a comprehensive repair section as well as the large engineering manufacturing works. Like most of the other contemporary lighting manufacturers, Nagel Chase claimed their lighting products to be the finest ever produced - a claim that was to be commercially demolished by the likes of Coleman and AGM. However, Nagel Chase products were quite advanced for the time, and the fact that a significant number survive in operational condition today is testament in a small degree at least to the company's engineering proficiency.

By 1920, the factory and laboratories occupied a large four storey block in East Erie Street, Chicago, and Nagel Chase Manf produced portable lighting equipment for other agencies as well as for sale under their own name. Lamps were easily maintained, and were easily converted between gasoline and kerosene. The range included outdoor lanterns, indoor table lamps, wall lamps and hanging chandelier lamps. Also in the range was a series of three and four mantle outdoor do-nut style lamps.


The Nagel Chase Manufacturing Plant, Chicago, 1920s

It was claimed that the founts could stand 200 psi pressure, and it is true to say that some of the lighting products do feel heavy enough to substantiate this claim, although it would be unwise to attempt to test it at home today.

Early Nagel Chase lanterns were distinctive for the relatively tall chimney type cowl. These lanterns were for use indoors or outside, and were fueled by kerosene or gasoline. The model 4 was for kerosene, and was equipped with a tip cleaning needle and a mica globe. Model 5 "Quicklit" was similar, but for use with gasoline. Both were single mantle lanterns with a claimed light of 300 cp. They were both available from around 1910, and were forerunners of a range of similar lanterns.

 nc4 nc5

Model 4 kerosene (left) and model 5 gasoline lanterns 1910

These lanterns were market leaders of the day, with an effective tip cleaning needle rarely found in lantern design. This early tip cleaner was somewhat problematic since it operated vertically, and if the seal were not perfect fuel would drip onto the users fingers. Later design used a lever system to get over this problem.


Nagel Chase badged as Favorite, from India. (1920s)

Also in the range were table lamps, for indoor use only, and it is known that models 2 and 3 date from around 1910, remaining in production for at least 10 years. Again rated at 300cp, these lamps were available with diferent shades, and for kerosene or gasoline.

nc2c nc3a

Model 2c table lamp (kerosene) and on the right, model 3a for gasoline (1918)

As well as a large number of hollow wire lighting devices, Nagel Chase produced a significant number of individual indoor and outdoor "arc" lights and boulevard lamps. Model 100 was a large 4 mantle do-nut style lamp with a claimed output of 1200 cp

nc101 nc103 nc200

L to R are 3 outdoor inverted arcs, the 3 mantle model 101, 2 mantle 103 and the single mantle 200.



Wizard Model 14

Nagel Chase sold lighting products under their own name through agencies across the USA, through Montgomery Ward, and exported badged products to other countries, for example Frandale of Manchester, UK and Poy Bros of Bombay India. There is also a suggestion that NC lanterns were also made in Australia to a slightly different specification. (possibly the Wizard Lighting Systems, Sydney)


This is a 1923 advert masquerading as an editorial article (because it's in the adverts section of Popular Mechanics)


Nagel Chase publications

Popular Mechanics Magazine, November 1910, Feb 1911, Oct 1923

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

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