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Thread: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

  1. #31

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Realizing this post steers away from Delta I think if not for another fellow nobody would've made it past the 1910's using wet cell tech or the really bad dry cell of the time. So here goes....

    Burgess Battery Co:
    The year was 1906. Folks at the Oscar Meyer packing plant (in Madison Wisconsin) were plagued with power shortages. They needed good batteries. Dry cell had been invented but not perfected. Enter 'French Battery Co' (now Rayovac) who was the leading supplier of batteries at the time. A consultant engineer named C.F. Burgess (1873-1945) was tasked with helping develop better chemistry. The #6 cell (as in 6" long) was widely used, but unreliable. In 1907 Mr. Burgess had succesfully combined chemicals to produce what he called "the best batteries in the world".

    Well the fertile mind of CF Burgess at some point inside his lab made zinc cans using a broom handle (C cell) and a shovel handle (D cell) and created the #1 and #2 cells we now use regularly.

    At some point his relationship with the French Battery Co soured. The factory burned in 1915, so he split and started Burgess Batteries. Later that merged with Mallory Batteries. We call it Duracell now.

    Mr. Burgess worked with US military folks along the way and they supplied cells to the armed forces during WW I. By the 1930's he was pissed about taxes and moved his business from Wisconsin to Freeport Illinois and he moved to Florida. During the Great Depression his company fell into dire straits.

    In 1910 he sold his first flashlights to the Madison Gas and Electric Co. They were called "Northern Lights". At flashlight museums page I saw Burgess lights up to the 1980's.

    Thank you Charles F Burgess.

    A book called "Madison: History of the formative years" tells the story of how CF Burgess was tapped to make better batteries. (A book about Madison Wisconsin- ISBN O-299-19980-0)

    A book called "Romance in Research: Life of CF Burgess" tells his tale of life at Burgess Battery Co and other adventures in the life of an electrical/ chemical engineer.

    Maybe at some point member CF Burgess (the new owner of this company) will pop in a either correct my story as necessary or add to it.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 05-16-2016 at 06:48 AM.
    John 3:16

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Can any Delta expert tell me the difference between a Delta Navy style lantern #5293-L and #5311-L?
    They look identical.

    I have an opportunity to buy both but only want one if they're the same.

  3. #33
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Re: A Short History of the Delta Electric Company

    Great thread here !

    In 2006, when I first joined CPF,
    I chose my username of Burgess as a
    Tribute to the batteries and lights I had
    known from my youth (born in 1953).

    I've honestly been a Flashaholic
    since at least the age of 4 years !
    # Truth

    Glad to see so many others
    sharing my interest !


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