Please be patient, this website is undergoing some major surgery. Some of the most recent changes are listed below.

November 2016

Some corrections across the site, with new pages added. Auto Fab Mnf and Form Tech Inc. Also Foote Mfg Co (Liberty Lamp Co), State Machine Products and Armstrong Products Co.  Some links removed and repaired. For Sale updated.

October 2016.

Several new pages added, including the American Lighting Co., Doud Lighting, the Sun Vapor Light CoAllen-Sparks Gas Light Co. the  Albert Lea Gas Light Co. The American Self Lighting Lamp Co, and  Swaine Gasoline Lighting.

Updates and corrections to: Best Light Co.  Austramax   Pitner Gasoline Lighting  Arihant Trading Co and Aetna Lighting and Heating.

General site-wide revisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Some Safety Ideas for Collectors of Lanterns

The potential dangers from oil lamps come from the two main areas of Fire and Fumes. Both can hurt you and your home, so here are some ideas to keep in mind while working with old lamps and lanterns.

  • Kerosene, gasoline and alcohol are all toxic. Wash off with running water if any of these get onto your skin.
  • Kerosene, gasoline and alcohol all burn fiercely. Take great care when filling lamps, and clear up spills before lighting.
  • Old founts might leak. Check integrity and look for cracks and corrosion before adding fuel and building pressure.
  • Joints and valves sometimes leak. Check soundness before attempting to fire up a newly acquired lamp.
  • Old mantles may contain radioactive Thorium. Handle as little as possible, and store mantles sensibly.
  • Smoke from new mantles contains Beryllium, which is toxic even in small concentrations. Burn-off new mantles outside in the open air.
  • All oil lamps consume oxygen when lit. Only light your lamps in well ventilated places, never use them in a confined space.
  • Poor combustion produces lethal carbon monoxide. If the mantle blackens or starts to smoke, turn it off.
  • Lanterns tops and valves get very hot. Handle with care when in use, remember old designs were not very clever.
  • Always use the correct fuel - gasoline in a lantern designed for kerosene can be spectacular and fatal. Check thoroughly before filling.

 

Keep in mind that there was not much concern for Health and Safety when these older lamps were manufactured, either for the factory workers who made them or for the customers that bought and used them. Quality control wasn't exactly a priority either, and there are many cases of a fount rupturing or blowing out a plug when under pressure, so check very carefully when pumping up old lamps, and never work near open flame.

Kerosene or Gasoline? Be certain

Why you should be careful with gasoline and kerosene

 

The newspapers from the early 1900s are littered with graphic reports of fires and fatalities caused by mishaps with kerosene and gasoline lamps. All too often the victims died in a horrific way in the hours and days following the accident. Kerosene and Gasoline are as dangerous today as they were 100 years ago, and human beings are just as vulnerable. If you are firing up an old lamp, please be very careful, and don't become another statistic.

 

 burnedDH19111909p8

Extract from a report in the Decatur Herald, November 1909

What's been going on?

This site has been undergoing some very slow redevelopment over the last few years. When it first appeared in 1996 it was the first ever website dedicated to pressure lamps and lanterns and there was just one page, a simple list of around half a dozen or so manufacturers. With the help of contributors all around the world the site has grown to the point where it is difficult to maintain and when the number of inquiries reached unmanageable proportions (up to a hundred a week!) we just went into meltdown and everything ground to a stop.

The purpose of the site remains the same now as it was in the early days, just to make available the kind of information a collector of lanterns might be looking for. There are many websites today that carry similar information, and there are lots of collectors in countries all around the world. Those websites might be more comprehensive than this one, and their authors much more knowledgeable than I am, and I encourage you to explore the web to see what else is around. This site contains a list of other lantern related websites, with links to areas that might be of interest. However, the same principles apply, stay safe and enjoy your hobby, and be ready to share.

Why are we moving?

Thanks to the rather odd policies of Virgin Media we are no longer able to host the site in its original location on the web, and the original material has been archived. Other commitments make it difficult for me to develop this version, but I hope to get everything transferred in due course. The migration process is slow, but it is happening! The current version of this site is actually taken from a very early draft version, so there are typos and other mistakes in plenty that are slowly being weeded out. Thank you for being patient.