Pressure Lamps International

The Thomas Manufacturing Co., Dayton, Ohio.

©AWMoore 2003


The Thomas Manufacturing Company was a truly remarkable and versatile company, although it failed to survive the depression years after the first world war.

With roots back in 1886 or perhaps even earlier, The Thomas Manufacturing Company was producing bicycles in its Springfield, Ohio base between 1896 and 1898. One registered address was 360 South Limestone Street, Springfield. By 1901, it had patents for rope making equipment, and the Thomas Rope Machine was part of it's production range for the next few years. There are indications that the company continued to specialise in the rope industry perhaps beyond 1910, by which time it was based in Dayton, Ohio. By that time other irons were in the fire, and the growing gramophone industry was a lucrative outlet for products such as needles and clockwork motors. In 1916 Thomas Manufacturing marketed at least one gramophone, or phonograph, called the Armoniola. There are also documented cases of music records being distributed, possibly manufactured by the company. One such is the Domino, a 7 inch label advertised in 1916 but not, apparently, later than then.

In the early years of the 20th century, the company was associated with general domestic products, and around 1913/14 they began to develop an unusual lighting device that burned kerosene, when almost all the other American lighting manufacturers were designing lanterns that burned gasoline. The Thomas Kerosafe table lamp, M1001 and the Kerosafe lantern M1004 used a burner and generator common to both styles, and it appears that production continued until around the middle 1920s. There is a suggestion that the company ceased trading in 1926. Thomas must have been a significant employer in the area, and a scan through local obituaries shows that it was not uncommon for men to work there for many years. One such man was William Perrin, who was an employee there between 1886 and 1920. I wonder what prompted him to leave after 34 years service, only to move to another local firm where he remained for a further 17 years.

The Kerosafe M1004 lantern has an attractive shape, it stands about 14 inches tall, and has an unusual arrangement where the air inlet tubes protrude through reinforced holes in the mica globe, where they are capped with a flat circular plate retained by a grip inside the tube. This component always seems to get lost - so if you are buying a M1004, check both plates are present, and be aware that you won't be able to use a glass globe. The design was relatively advanced, and had a tip cleaning needle operated by means of a wire hook that passed up through the base plate to a cam operated by a wire lever. The lantern was preheated by using alcohol on an asbestos torch attached to a wire handle that was lifted through a large opening in the base plate. Once lit, the cover could be swung across to close the opening. The table lamp has the same burner style, but uses a rather small shade compared with contemporary models from other makers.

kerosafe01 kerosafe02

Thomas Manufacturing lantern M1004 and table lamp M1001.

Many Thomas lamps and lanterns are not marked in any way, but identification is relatively easy because of the distinctive shape and style. Those that are marked often have the words "The Thomas Mfg Co Dayton Ohio" embossed into the valve wheel. Looking at the style of the wheel, I think these are later versions.


References: ( web links may be out of date - sorry)

Daily News, Springfield. (1945) Tuesday, March 20, 1945 Obituaries. Springfield. USA

Hill R. (ed.) (2003) The Wheelmen - list of bicycle brands http://www.thewheelmen.org/

Hobson A. (1997) Lanterns that lit our world Book Two. Golden Hill Press, New York.

Johnson D. (2003) The Rope Makers Bible. http://www.wctatel.net/web/equityrealty/thomas.html

Marshall L. (1913) Publications Pertaining to the Flood of 1913: The True Story of Our National Calamity by Flood, Fire and Tornado : How the Whole Nation Joined in the Work of Relief. Dayton, Ohio. Thomas Manufacturing Co. Dayton.

Sutton A. (1996) America's Miniature Record Fad. Mainspring Press Publications. http://www.mainspringpress.com/little.html

United States Department of the Interior (2002) National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places - Washington

Wakeman R.J. (2003) World of Gramophones. http://www.worldofgramophones.com/gramolist.html

 

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 http://www.tilleylamps.co.uk/    Currently off-line Fil Graf has one of the original reference sites at http://www.lampguild.org 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. ************** ...

Spotted

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 ...