Phoenix Electroforms
Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    434

    Default A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Thanks to Louis E. Ebert and the Marion, Indiana Public Library for the information shown below:

    In September of 1913 local capitalists in Marion, Indiana purchased a half interest in Delta Electric Co., Inc., located in Chicago, Illinois, and moved the company to Marion. The company was reorganized as Delta Electric Co., and capitalized at $25,000.

    One of the company's earliest products was, what was claimed to be, the first battery-powered portable electric hand lantern. This lantern used a single 1.5 volt #6 dry cell battery (6" tall x 2.5" dia.).

    By 1916, the company was making 15 varieties of electric lanterns and flashlights, filling orders as large as an order for 200,000 pocket flashlights for one concern. Along with other electrical devices, they manufactured pay telephones which were exported to the Canadian market.

    During WW1, Delta engaged in the production of lighting devices for government use. Several of these were of special types made to Army and Navy specifications.

    After WW1, the company resumed full production for the civilian market. By this time they were making automobile spotlights and switches, bicycle lights, flashlights, boat lamps, buggy lights, and hand lamps and lanterns. They were also making batteries for their lights and lanterns. The company was producing 25 distinct products and turning out over 1,000,000 articles a year. Their products were being shipped to Canada, Mexico, South America, England, and Europe.

    During 1922 as commercial radio broadcasting advanced and radio sets came onto the market, Delta added radio earphones to their other
    electrical product lines.

    In 1933, Delta introduced the item that became their single most well-known product when they started producing the 6 volt two reflector "Powerlite". This lantern would continue to be made through the 1930s and during the 1940s, when it was made for the military. Powerlite production continued through the 1950s and 1960s, and into the early 1970s.

    The mid-1930s saw the development of the electric bicycle horn, which was added to their line of bicycle lamps and accessories, Delta lanterns, truck and bus lighting equipment, warning signals, sockets, connectors, switches, and other similar devices.

    At this time the line-up of hand lanterns included the "Redbird", "Apollolite", "Husky",
    "Silverlite", "Wildcat", "Juniorlite", "Buddy", and "Marionette". Bicycle lights included the "Nighthawk", "Tarzan", "Clipper", "Silver Knight", and "Sportster".

    Delta also produced the "Flashing Powerflare", used for construction site barricades and as road-side warning lights for truck breakdowns. Electric switches and lighting devices were made for Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.

    With the onset of WW2, production once more reverted to military equipment for the government. Devices made included life preserver lights, signal gun lights, Navy watertight flashlights, Navy watertight lanterns for ship crew compartments, life raft float lights, aircraft gunnery tow target lamps, blinker lights, Navy running lights and battle lamps, aircraft recognition lights, parachute cargo dropping lights, debarkation beach marker lights, flashing flares, along with numerous control devices electric junction boxes.

    With the end of WW2, regular commercial production resumed. Several military devices were adapted to civilian use. Other products added included a line of marine products including bow and stern lights, horns, navigations lights, exhaust blowers, and pumps. In addition to the proverbial "Powerlite", hand lanterns included the "Delta-Ray", "Power King", "Reddylite", and "Buddy". Bicycle accessories included a generator and light set, "Sealed Beam Bicycle Headlight", "Jet-Ray Hornlite", "Rocket Ray" light, "P-T" light, "P-T" horn, "Winner" light, "Winner" horn, "Jr. Headlight",
    "Hurricane" horn, "Seat Post Tail-lite", "Redguard Tailite", "Safety Lites", and an axle-hub light set.

    As imported lamps and bicycle lights invaded the U.S. markets, Delta increased their line of automotive products. Doorjamb switches, window switches, tailgate window switches, convertible top switches, wire harnesses, etc. were produced. Delta's bicycle accessories line of products was sold off in 1973.

    In 1964, Delta Electric was purchased by Novo Industrial Corp., a diversified industrial and service corporation. One of Novo Industrial Corp.'s subsidiary companies, King Bee Manufacturing Co., was moved to Marion, and its line of automotive lighting and safety equipment,
    including headlamps, safety lights, directional lights, mirrors, and reflectors for trucks, buses, trailers, and farm tractors, was merged into the Delta line of products.

    Delta Electric was a division of Novo Industrial Corp. until 1968 when Novo became part of United Filtration Corp. Delta continued to operate as a division of United Filtration. After selling off the line of bicycle accessories, Delta continued to produce accessories for the automotive industry such as truck side view mirrors and various automotive switches. By 1976 the company's main line had become warning buzzers for fire and security alarms.

    On March 31, 1978, Halle Industries Inc., who had acquired Delta in 1977, shut down production of Delta Electric due to losing contracts for their smoke detector alarms to Japanese imports.

    Kirk here: Hope you enjoyed this little history lesson. I have a few Delta flashlights and lanterns and wondered what happened to the company. I got this info by contacting the Chamber of Commerce in Marion. They suggested I contact the library. I plan on checking various chambers and libraries to get info on other "defunct" companies such as Carpenter and Burgess. We'll see how it goes.

    Regards,
    Kirk

  2. #2

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I was very interested to read this piece. I am researching the life of Dr Banda of Malawi who spoke to the Kiwanians at the scout hut, near Jonesboro, in 1928. W P Stephenson of Delta Electric Company was in the audience and he was so impressed he then sponsored Dr Banda's further studies. I would like to hear from anyone who could add any information.
    Best wishes,
    Tim Walker

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    3,567

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    We so need pictures!
    Light is the activity of what is transparent - Aristotle

  4. #4
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Long Beach California
    Posts
    32

    Thumbs up Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    ww1 navy delta and later cast aluminum deltas I polished:













    a few powerlites:










    two on the bottom right are deltas:




    HAPPY?

    Thanks for the info, I always wondered if they made these for ww1 but couldn't find any online information, if you could find some information on the Grether Fire Equipment Co. Dayton Ohio, that would be awesome.

  5. #5
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Captain smiley I see you have Grether Lanterns. Do you have any for sale , doesn't have to work. My fire dept. is currently reserrecting our 1931 Buffalo Pumper Truck and we're missing a lantern.

  6. #6
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Hi: I have one Powerlite that is missing the top lite portion. Is there anyplace that might have parts?

    Thanks, John, w1zyv@yahoo.com

  7. #7

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Hello....
    I am new to the forum as I have just purchased a Grether lantern....I was doing research to see if I could find out anything about it...after a search i found this thread....

    I know nothing about vintage lanterns but I purchased this one at a local auction as I felt it looked quite unique...

    It is cast aluminum with two brass tags and a pull/push switch on the top...i removed the top and it had two old batteries....everything looks fine with it including all the brass screws....one brass tag reads "portable electric lantern..style no. 6......patented July 30, 1918...."

    The switch, lens, handle and abrass focus screw on the back seems fine.....it has an old decal on the back that says "Electrical & Water Depts. Kaukauna, Wisc. Phone 231" .....

    I found some info on this forum site regarding the Grether Fire Equipment Co.(the other label on the top) Dayton, Ohio ...Patents Pending

    I would love to get some additional info on it.....would also sell if you are interested... Thanks...... Randy

  8. #8
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario. CAN.
    Posts
    2,142

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Did this company turn in to the Delta we know today that is well known in the computer industry for fans and laptop power supplies?

  9. #9
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I found this Delta Lamp in a friends basement. It says it is a APOLLO model, no date or patents. There is no battery inside and the light bulb connecter needs tobe repaired.

    Of course I wonder if it has any value or should I just junk it?

  10. #10

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I am wondering if anyone has found any information on the
    CARPENTER MFG. CO.
    BOSTON, 45, MASS U.S.A.
    mentioned in Post #1.
    Edit: I have found that the Carpenter Mfg. Co. became the Carpenter Division of Walter Kidde & Co. (Fire Systems and Extinguishers), Charlottesville, VA 22901. At some point they became the Carpenter Division, Electronic Technologies, Inc. of Charlottesville, VA 22901. More info to follow.
    I recently acquired one of their MASTER-LIGHT lanterns. I think they were primarily produced for the Firefighting Industry.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm also restoring a KOEHLER lantern, a much more modern lantern, that is also a brand primarily used by Firefighters. I have a
    GRAY NAVY BATTLE LANTERN made by Delta and two
    YELLOW NAVY BATTLE LANTERNS all yet to be restored.
    Edit: One of the Yellow Navy Battle Lanterns was made under contract to the U.S. Government by J.M.C. (possibly the Jay Molding Corporation.) More info to follow.
    Last edited by Boudreaux; 10-28-2009 at 03:32 PM. Reason: New Information
    "NASA Houston, We've got a problem, do you copy?"
    "Roger, Apollo 13, we copy. Shut down power and use your flashlights for light."

  11. #11

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Thanks for a very informative article about Delta Electric Company! I recently inherited a Delta redbird that belonged to my Dad who passed away in December 2007. He took care of his tools, so the lamp is in great condition, but is missing the battery. Will a regular battery work?

  12. #12

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Welcome, ulightupmylife!

    According to the Flashlight Museum www.flashligtmuseum.com both models (circa 1940 and 1945) of the Delta "Redbird" in their collection use 2-1.5V dry cell batteries. These are sometimes hard to find but are still available. The last one I ordered I think was from RadioShack.

    Perhaps other members will have current info on where to obtain them.


    "NASA Houston, We've got a problem, do you copy?"
    "Roger, Apollo 13, we copy. Shut down power and use your flashlights for light."

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* toby_pra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    5,423

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Very vintage flashlights you have there guys...

  14. #14
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1

    Wink2 Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Kirk, I've got a little info to add to your history of Delta Electric. Those wonderful bicycle horns you wrote about are well know to Lionel train collectors. I don't know how long Lionel used the Delta horns, but everything my Dad had collected has a Delta horn in it. The horns are stamped clearly, Delta Electric Co Marion, Indiana. My husband was cleaning and oiling one of my Dad's engines from 1950 and we noticed the printing stamped on the horn. I found your forum when I googled Delta.

    Deb

  15. #15
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    434

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I can't believe this thread is still going after almost 7 1/2 years! I think it's probably one of my first posts here on CPF. I haven't found too many decent Deltas in the past few years. Most are dented, corroded, and just generally beaten up. You folks have some nice lights. Let's see more!
    Kirk
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist.....", last words of General John Sedgwick, Union Commander, 1864

  16. #16

    Thinking Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Have a Delta F-L-A-S-H-I-N-G POWERFLARE. Was wondering what it was used for, its value, if it can be restored and used? Should I try polishing it up? Have been looking at tons of pics of these types of lights and have not found one that looks like the one I have. Any information is welcomed and will be more than what I have now. Thanks so much. Peace.

  17. #17

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    First of all, WELCOME to C.P.F.!

    Secondly, do you have a picture of the Delta Powerflare that you could post on here? What color is it and what color are the lens? They were made circa 1935, and were generally red, but there may also be some green military version.

    I think you can get a look and some more information on this light from this source: www.flashlightmuseum.com .
    "NASA Houston, We've got a problem, do you copy?"
    "Roger, Apollo 13, we copy. Shut down power and use your flashlights for light."

  18. #18

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Thank you so much for responding. I don't know much about the piece but it very interesting. I've taken 2 pictures for you to look at. I'm just not sure how to send them to you

  19. #19
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I am a flash light junkie. I have a small collection of antique Big Beam and some Japanese ones, no not made in china, made in Japan. I also have a Delta Electric model "Delta-Jet" that I am trying to figure out. Does anyone have any information on the Delta-Jet model? It looks like the slip on the back of it is designed for your belt. It is similar to the redbird but appears more modern. I was thinking maybe it was designed for miners, the lens on it seems to be designed for impact resistance.

  20. #20
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I have a Delta-King sealed beam lantern. I don't know how old it is or what it may be worth and I am curious. I don't want to sell it or anything, but I didn't see anything in this history about this particular model. It has no model number on it. can anyone help me out?

  21. #21
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I found a Delta # 6 Ignitor Type Dry Battery.
    I was just wondering if anyone have any more information on the item? I am really not sure what to do with it.
    Could someone please help me
    Thank you

  22. #22
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Bravo! I just began collecting WWII Era Flashlights and am re-wiring an old Navy Battle Lantern as we speak. I will be searching the forums for prior post about wiring/re-wiring, but have already found what batteries/bulbs to use and am ready to get this one going.

    Thanx for the info on the Delta Company!

  23. #23
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1

    Thumbs up Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    To be honest, my main interest is in oil/kerosene lanterns. But I do have a few electrics. One new one is of interest to me, I just acquired it. I am hoping that Captain Smiley might have some more detailed information to share on it, as it's the one in his last photograph, the set of 4 grey ones (one on top of the other three) and is the one on the bottom row far right. I notice his is missing the lens and bulb etc. I recognized it as being a ship's lantern, possibly military WWII era. I am surprised that the listing here seems to indicate WWI vintage. My first question is, can I get that confirmed some how? The markings on the side of mine are: Inside: 5293-L-2 Side: 5311-L-1 Outside: 9-S5311-L Type J-IS Back Hanger: JELTA Elect. Co. Marion Indiana Made in U.S.A. Which brings up my second question: Mine seems to clearly read "Jelta" not "Delta" I suppose it could be a stamping error, but is it possible that this is a later copy of the Delta or something? My lantern is in great shape, missing only the batteries. Seems to take one short and one long one insided. It's even got the wiring to go between the batteries rattling around inside. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks

    Addendum: I have gone back to the lantern, now, armed with the information of "Delta" being the manufacturer. I can now see where the stamp did not make a complete mark and it is "Delta" not "Jelta". The scratches obscured what little of the left of the D present. So that's One question answered. Further research tends to support WWII era or Vintage. Are there any records out there of the parts coding that might indicate if this was a Military unit or a Civilian? There were an awful lot of transport/freighters out there and I (in my admitted 'newbie' view) am wondering if they might not also use these items.
    Last edited by Comsult; 08-14-2011 at 03:23 PM. Reason: additional information found

  24. #24
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    I recently found a large photograph of the 9th annural Delta Electric Company picnic held on July 24, 1937. It was behind a picture of my father 's naval training class taken in 1943. I'd love to know if anyone has any information about the possibility of which one of my family members worked at Delta in 1937. My dad would have been 14. My grandparent' s names are Mary and William Kovale and one of them could have worked there. The picture was taken at Lukins Lake and the photographer was listed in Marion IN. I can't make out the photographer's name as it's hand written in white on the photo. There are over 100 people in the photo, including children and families. If anyone knows if the Delta Elec. Company still had offices in Chicago in 1937, I'd appreciate it. I believe that is where my grandparents were living in 1937.

    Thanks to anyone who could provide some information.

    Karen Kovale

  25. #25
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Hey Kirk, I am looking for more info on the Delta flashlights. I know they are hard to find. I have a C cell model #100 in great working condition. I found out they had 9 models. So I'm wondering if the model #100 was their first flashlight made and only C cell flashlight made. I collect vintage flashlights and have my share of LED flashlights also. I also have a website showing my vintage lights but not sure if it's ok to add the name so I won't just to be safe. I haven't posted before. But I did get my start with the LED lights here!

    Thanks for any info, Dave

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •