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Thread: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

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    Default My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    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)



  2. #2
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    impressive, but what's with the "dumb test" links?

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    I think that's just image shack's way of selling out, jerks, I tried to get them off but it wouldn't let me, and I had already spent a couple hours on it and didn't want to upload all those pics to another site, at least image shack doesn't delete my photos like photobucket.

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    I assume the Grether lanterns ran on 2 x No 6 dry cells?

    I did note the 2.8V 0.8A on the Delta nameplate.


    Here's my contribution - a comparison between a Camping Lantern and a Trouble Light.

    Front View:

    Note the difference in size. The Trouble Light is a generic cheapie from Hong Kong (but very like similar English style ones). The Camping Lantern is an Australian-made Eveready (but I am NOT responsible for the aftermarket coat of red paint!)

    Headlights lit up:

    The camping lantern battery is rather weak, and is fitted with an aftermarket glass lens, hence the weird colour light.

    Camping Lantern Tent Light:

    The top bulb here is a 4.8V MES (E10) blobe, but this lantern is destined for the RoP treatment. The top light is now a Reflectalite GH44, and the front headlight will sport a Pelican 3854H. When I stuff six cells (SubC or 4/3A) into a 509 shell, the "Roar of the Camping Lantern" will make its debut in the world.

    Trouble Light Flasher:

    The top lens can be amber or red, and is designed for a 4.8V flashing lamp, just like the Big Jim taillight. You have to keep snapping until you catch it "on".

    Rear View:

    Note the third key difference between these two lamps:
    The switch on the camping lantern has three positions - centre off, headlight, dome light.
    The switch on the trouble light has four positions off-head-dome-both. That way you can shine the light on the job (say the wheelnuts) whilst flashing your warning at the same time.

    Despite their age, both lights are in perfect working order and could be quite happily used in their original service right now.
    Last edited by lctorana; 12-08-2008 at 04:18 AM. Reason: corrected one of the photos

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Nice collection of lamps. Did you flip all the pics 180 deg. to get mirror-images, or are they old negatives, printed back to front?

    BTW I never tried Billy Carter's beer - I was told it tasted very nasty. Was it OK?
    Resistance is futile...

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    Nice collection of lamps. Did you flip all the pics 180 deg. to get mirror-images, or are they old negatives, printed back to front?

    BTW I never tried Billy Carter's beer - I was told it tasted very nasty. Was it OK?
    Quote Originally Posted by captain smiley View Post
    sorry about reverse lettering, (macbook Isight camra)
    Norm

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Thanks Norm, I missed that.
    Resistance is futile...

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    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    These old, vintage Lantern photographs are very cool !


    Thank you for sharing them.


    They bring back a lotta' memories for me.


    Just imagine all the stories they could tell.



    But, i must say, i don't recall ever actually seeing (in person) a light

    which takes (took) the #6 batteries.



    I do recall using the #6 cell on the ignition Glow-Plug

    of our toy model airplane, however.


    It was always Very Difficult and Frustrating to get it to Start !



    _

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    Flashaholic* Cydonia's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Interesting pictures, thank you for posting them. As Burgess said, imagine the stories they could tell...
    I would probably buy such a light if I found one (cheap) in a yard sale etc.,

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    To put my own old lanterns in perspective, here is a wooden lantern:


    Close-up, front view:

    Note the stud-switch on top under the handle.

    Back View:

    Note the joints, and the vertical-sliding tongue-and-groove battery cover.

    Note that I have no idea what the original battery for this would have looked like.

    Something like a - no, I won't lead the witness with my guess.

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    Flashaholic* karlthev's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Amazing collection and nice pics!!



    Karl

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    I never had billy's either, it was before my time. Someone gave them to me because I have a small collection of vintage beer and sodas some opened some not, based on the age of those cans though I would thing that it's past it's prime.

    Thank you lctorana for your contribution, I like that wood one, is it an eveready? It probably would have originally had a thick magnifying lens on it and taken a battery pack made up of a number of cells, you might be able to rig one up with a simple battery holder, it looks like you might get 4d batts in there, and I think that these took mini screw base bulbs so you could find a new bulb that will be brighter than the original. here is one that looks just like yours

    http://www.flashlightmuseum.com/Brit...lar-Model-1921

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Here is the picture of the original bulb that came in my grether navy marked pre-patent light, the filament is put on by hand although it cannot be captured with this camera.




    The contacts on the base are also hand soldered




    the bulb is fully hand blown, amazing to think it survived so long and still has a good filament, I lit it once on two d cells.

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    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    wow, thanks for sharing.
    never seen a hand blown bulb before.

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    to lctorana --


    Thank you for providing a front and a back view of that

    Charming old, vintage wooden box Lantern.


    The wood joints, and sliding back (for battery access)

    really add a lot to the viewing experience.


    Can you give us rough dimensions of this light ?


    Outside Length, Width, and Depth


    Oh, and just how large is the Battery Compartment ?


    (you can tell us yer' thoughts, too, if you like)



    Any markings on the Bulb ?


    Is it a standard screw-base ?



    My, the stories that light could tell us !


    _

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by captain smiley View Post
    Thank you lctorana for your contribution, I like that wood one, is it an eveready? It probably would have originally had a thick magnifying lens on it...
    Yes, it is a (English) Eveready. Identical to the one in your link.

    Here is a pic of the makers' nameplate:


    Closeup:


    Note that this model does not have the magnifying ("fisheye" or "walleye") lens, but it does have the original, convex glass.

    These wooden lanterns seem to be quite common in the UK, where they change hands quite regularly on eBay, and the ones that do have fisheye lenses go for seriously big money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgess
    Can you give us rough dimensions of this light ?
    Outside Length, Width, and Depth
    Oh, and just how large is the Battery Compartment ?
    3 7/8" wide x 4 3/4" tall, not including switch or handle x 3 5/16" to front of dome.

    Glass is 1 3/4" diameter.

    Battery box indide dimensions: 4 1/8" x 3 1/4" x 1 3/8"

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgess
    Any markings on the Bulb ? Is it a standard screw-base ?
    Standard MES/E10 base. It has a common-or-garden #13 in there right now, but I'm not sure that's any sort of hint because it might have been me that put it there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgess
    My, the stories that light could tell us !
    My mother reckons it is a bicycle light. She recalls her brother having one back in the early 1930s.


    I suppose you want a picture of the inside of the battery compartment now:

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    Flashaholic* Essexman's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Wow great collection, you really know your lanterns! It's great that you are looking after all those and keeping them in good working order.

    I have a few old miners torches from a company called Concordia of Wales. They also made a lantern like your cast types, but smaller. One came up on ebay in the UK a while ago and I let it go (to rich for me!), I wish I had kept a copy of the photos to show you.



    Quote Originally Posted by lctorana View Post
    Yes, it is a (English) Eveready. Identical to the one in your link.
    These wooden lanterns seem to be quite common in the UK, where they change hands quite regularly on eBay, and the ones that do have fisheye lenses go for seriously big money.
    Yep we get a few of them here on ebay, some go for a fair price when in good condition. Others just don't sell, I guess it's not easy to replace parts or repair them.

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by Essexman
    Yep we get a few of them here on ebay, some go for a fair price when in good condition. Others just don't sell, I guess it's not easy to replace parts or repair them.
    Indeed - they're not actually uncommon.

    But when you look closely at what sells and what doesn't, condition is important, and I would bet that the ones that command high prices are the ones with fisheye (magnifying) lenses, and the ones that don't sell at all are the ones with just flat glass. The convex glass version, like mine, is somewhere in between in value. Interesting but affordable.

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    I have seen them pop up on ebay too here in the US once in a while, I think that the wood ones were something that were made in greater numbers over a longer period of time by british eveready.
    personally, I haven't seen really many american wood lanterns after about the early teens, I was trying to get a nice eveready recently that had a thick dome lens and it was nickel plated steel (the nickel looked really good too.) and it was from 1914, it also had a white painted reflector. I will go see if it's still up and post a pic, should have bid higher but I sure another will pop up, not too uncommon, yet.

    I have seen some very attractive british lanterns made by ceag and oldham among others, here is a link to a collection I found one day looking for a pioneer lantern:

    http://www.miningartifacts.org/electricminelamps.html.

    I found a pioneer lantern a while back on ebay and I just arrived today, I will post pictures of it below: http://www.flashlightmuseum.com/Ever...Switch-3B-1914










    It was an early 4 volt rechargable lantern, and it came with the charger, it had the original twisted cloth covered wiring with a bakalite plug, label inside with charging and electrolyte instructions (obviously used a wet cell)







    it had a blue bulb, by GE, MAZDA 1.5w 2.5v (could be 15w but unclear) duel contact bayonet base.




    it has a strip of thin plate glass that is holding down a switch, should the lens have been broken it would have shattered this strip and shut the bulb off before it could be broken so as not to ignite flamable mine gasses or coal dust




    these lanterns came with a cutler hammer (CH) pull-on push-off switch, I have made a video of me opening it up, and cleaning the contacts and greasing it, when it arrived I tested it and resistance was so great it wouldn't light the bulb, now it works as new, I need to edit it and post it so if anyone else gets one they can know how to repair it. here are some pics:







    Edit: here is a link to one of the metal evereadys that is the same I bid on, but $40 is too high, the on on ebay was as good of condition and went for $13 http://www.flashlightmuseum.com/Ever...Switch-3B-1914
    Last edited by captain smiley; 12-10-2008 at 07:32 PM. Reason: added link

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    I'm an Eveready tragic myself.

    Cutler-Hammer definitely made good switches, so +1 on it being worth repairing.

    Now I'm intrigued about the 6-stud regulator on the Pioneer - what is that connected to? A chain of resistors, perhaps?

    The bulb could easily be 15W, being powered by an accumulator. But try sourcing a new one...

    Also, nice to think that blue-tint "daylight"? bulbs are nothing new...

    There may be a 12V automotive bulb to fit and some sort of 12V battery that could be mounted inside, purely for temporary display purposes, of course...

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    I would think it's a tapped coil, it's hard to make out what the label says but I will see later on If I can take it off for a better look, I find it interesting that the instructions inside of the lantern say to charge with direct current only, this was probably made during what is commonly referred to as the war of the currents, between edison's DC and tesla's AC.

    I posted a video on how to repair a cutler hammer switch here: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=215703

    if anyone is interested.

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by captain smiley
    I would think it's a tapped coil.
    Ahh, that brings back memories.

    Resistive regulators often did take the form of an open coil of wire, rather like a toaster element. The nice thing about these is that you will probably find the regulator in perfect working order, even today.

    Thinking about it, it would, apart from dimming, serve a second purpose - to compensate for the level of charge of the battery. More resistance can be added when the battery is just off the charger and less as it discharges. Just like the rheostats were used in a 1920s battery radio, with all those UX201A tubes.

    And in the 1920s and 1930s, Hornby were big on studded regulators of this pattern for their electric train sets and Meccano motor control.

    I'll stop typing now or I'll talk myself into wanting one myself...

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* socom1970's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Wow!!! Those are some super-neat lights. I have a soft spot in my heart for old lights. Great thread!
    "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by lctorana View Post
    To put my own old lanterns in perspective, here is a wooden lantern:

    Note that I have no idea what the original battery for this would have looked like.

    Something like a - no, I won't lead the witness with my guess.
    Update - pic to follow - I have just bought a near-mint example of the exact same model from eBay...

    ...with battery!

    The battery (pic to follow) is 3 E-cells in series, which confirms the bulb to indeed be a #13

    The battery itself is a work of art - the shell is made of cardboard with a black leatherette-style finish, anf the top is sealed with shiny black wax? gutta percha? glassy looking stuff. Flat brass-strips lie on the back of the battery for terminals.

    Oddly, the battery is not labelled with a model number, and the plus and minus terminals are also not labelled.

    Having 3 x E cells for 4.5V nominal, it is clearly the same cell configuration as the better-known and longer surviving Eveready 126, but with brass strip rather than screw terminals, and a more compact size.

    Lastly, the paper label has "2 3 45" perforated into it, suggesting either a manufactured or "use by / best before" date of 2nd March 1945. BHut I'm only guessing about that. Brand is "Victor".

    Oh, and back to the near-mint lantern - I put a 3-cell battery carrier inside it, switched on, and - how's this for impressive - that 90-year-old light shone brightly, for the first time in (no exaggeration) 50 years!

    No DeOxit or switch cleaner needed, just ready to roll.

    (Next project is to mock up a new 3E battery with rechargeable cells, now I have a pattern.)

  25. #25
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Wow, very cool !





    I wonder if yer' "Victor" battery

    is shorthand for "RCA Victor" ?



    In the mid-1960's, we got an RCA

    tape recorder for Christmas.


    I can still recall that it came with 4 "C" cells,

    branded as "RCA Victor".


    Had never seen such named cells, either before or since.



    Just a thought.

    Enjoy yer' new light !



    _

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    I forgot to say the battery is English.

    So unless it's got something to do with the old HMV licensing tie-up, it might be a complete coincidence.

    On another note, here is an RCA miniature valve radio B battery scan!
    Not "Victor", but nostalgic nevertheless.

  27. #27

    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Very cool collection

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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    awesome, can you post some pictures of the battery?

  29. #29

    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    Outstanding collection.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: My antique electric lantern and flashlight collection (many pics)

    lol this thread is #1 on google for "grether lantern"

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