I see a need to post pictures of these lanterns and concentrate some information about them. In the years I have built this collection I've had a very hard time trying to find information on them, if you own one of the cast aluminum lanterns or another type of lantern that is cast aluminum please post some pictures, as cast aluminum lamps have become the focus of my collection and it's intresting to see other examples as there were variations during production runs.
sorry about reverse lettering, (macbook Isight camra)
These are some of my favorites, designed, patented, and (manufactured or sold?) them in any case, William Grether held the original patent for them. Throughout the years differing methods of marking them were employed, the first ones came with brass tags riveted to the lids, later models had there names embossed directly in to the top while the latest models had a smooth top and would have had a decal, which is almost always gone today. At least three known switches were used throughout the years, begining with the cutler hammer switches mentioned in grether's patent, then the hubbell switches which were large bodied toggles that required a miniature switch plate (you know you had one of these if you have an unusually elongated hole behind your switch plate) to the last of them which had an unknown brand of toggle which was mounted in a smaller switch plate (smaller than the hubbell plate and sometimes with curved ends around the screws) and was secured in the plate by way of a lug, same as the modern ones
Now, it is unclear if Grether Fire Equipment Co. manufactured lanterns for other companies or if Grether's 14 year patent term had expired and manufacturing took place in another dayton foundry, but however it happened, lanterns of the same design were sold, these lanterns had diffrant names, ones currently known are; Fairmont Railway Motor Co., and Harris Bros. Mfg. Co. (if you know of others please inform and include pics if possible) the grether and harris marked examples always said "Dayton Ohio" the harris models just said "pat" but the grether models were the only ones to bear the actual patent date. For more information on grether patents please view this thread: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=166433
These lanterns also had different handles, seemingly without regard to brand name, the one on the left is the earliest version as it it drawn in the patent, moving to what I call the ribbed handle in the middle (most common) and finally, the only one of this style I have ever seen also the best smoothest casting I've seen on one of these. I call it the streamline version, I think this one dates to the mid 30s, obviously the maker was getting better at casting aluminum, this lamp is also the only I've seen with a solid handle (most have a slot in the bottom making them partly hollow and saving aluminum
These three are delta lanterns the two I polished (all with no power tools so it isn't perfect but I accomplished the look I was going for, they are a bit dusty too) probably dating to the 1920s. Delta Electric Co. obviously saw the problem with the brass screws used in the aluminum, they reacted with it and formed an oxide? whatever it forms, the end result is a broken screw so in these, they placed a steel sleeve and used steel screws, the result was that I have never seen one with a broken screw.
The navy embossed lantern is probably the same time as the grether lantern which bears all the same wording and came with a tipped bulb (will add pic later, forgot) and a patent panding tag, meaning it's possibly one of the earliest examples still left in the world) it also used the same 1911 patent switch by Cutler Hammer (a company still in business today) The switch was a pull switch, and probably the basis for many modern pull-on push-off switches found today, although the original cutler hammer pull switches seem to only be found on electric hand lanterns of the day they were rated for much higher voltages. Should you get a lamp with this switch please visit this thread because I will be posting pictures of a new (to me anyway) lantern which also has this switch and a tutorial (possibly you tube video) on how to disassemble them and clean the contacts (you could do the whole switch if desired) so that these can continue to be used for another 80+years. And should anyone have spare switches of this type please pm me. The delta-navy embossed lantern also had a focusing mechanism, however mine was ate away by battery acid long long ago, I built one, but it has problems and anyone with one of these that has an intact focus mechanism I would be greatly helped by some good pics of the inside of the lamp, of the focusing mechanism so that I may fabricate one that will work properly.
The one on the right is a Carpenter Light Mfg. Co. lantern, not many of these have stood the test of time as there entire lens-reflector retaining system was made of rubber, and often cracked and became useless, especially in some explosive gassy mines these would not have lasted long
The one on the left is a grether lantern, it was his first patent, it makes for interesting reading if you are lucky enough to own one of these circa 1917 beauties he was making these with fire fighters and mine workers in mind, and they were designed specificly to bash in windows and the like, these really were built like tanks and designed to take abuse, they had very good beams with these reflectors as they were made to cut through the air in a smokey burning building, the six holes on the back were for a mounting bracket which it originally came with, some of these lanterns were sold with no mount on the back, but those that were often graced the sides of fire trucks, often mounted like so:
It it interesting to me that I have never seen this model grether with the name cast in to the top, only brass tag, or a decal.
Now for something I was very happy to get, my original delta powerlite, fresh out of the box, FROM 1937! still had old $5.99 price tag, a nice chunk of change in that time, especially during depression years.
neat old prewar graphics:
Here are a couple more, one of the earlier powerlites, and another one I found with a box for it, but in way worse shape, I just use these ones for camping, it is still one of the best designed lanterns ever made. they really did build these for the ages.
the tall brass one I think is a C. Lindhart Jr. as I saw one once on a website which looked exactly like this one, any info on this light or what it's application was would be appreciated.
The other lantern it a super nice ecolite I picked up for a buck a couple years ago on ebay, the nickel is really thick and perfect, it's patent number is dated at 1933, the thing looks nearly new! have still never seen one quite like it.
these are my more modern flashlights, no collection can be compleat without an assortment of mag-lites, including the hard to get 6 cell, barely fit the photo!
Here is an original No.6 dry cell, from 1944, a U.S. army battery specifying for navy use, thats ww2 for ya, made by eveready for the army for the navy I put it next to a 6 pack or billy beer so the size could be gauged
Lanterns in progress (actually most need something)