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.