CARBIDE LAMPS IN THE COLLECTION OF R. C. FINCH
If you are interested in adding any of these lamps to your collection, please
drop a line to R. C. Finch, 299 Allen Hollow Rd., Cookeville, TN 38501,or
e-mail me at email@example.com Lamps marked "NLA" are no longer available.
AC-1: ACME HAND LAMP, UNFIRED: [NLA] A lightly tinned steel hand lamp, ACME
brand, made by Justrite Mfg. Co. of Chicago, mainly for use in hardrock mines.
I believe this to be half-shift lamp Model No. 50 (50A), Type 2A. Lamp stands
6" tall to top of water valve control knob, which is marked "Wire Feed"; water
tank has vertical ribs; the name Justrite is stamped in the water tank top
just above the brand name Acme; has handle and hook and bail for hanging.
Interesting feature: knurled screw on bail can be screwed into threaded hole
in water tank to fix the bail in the upright position (in the photo it is shown
with the screw unscrewed and the bail released and tilted back). A good deal
of the thin plating on the body is gone (maybe 25%)-- I suppose from age-- but
the plated reflector is perfect. This is because this reflector is not
original to this particular lamp. However, it seems to be a correct
replacement: 4" diameter, no indentation to prevent rotation.
ACME HALF SHIFT
AR-1: ARROW CAP LAMP: [NLA] A standard nickel plated Arrow cap lamp; 2 3/8"
set screw reflector; hook and wire braces intact and in good condition; round
bottom identical to early Auto-Lites. Lamp is complete except the felt plate
is homemade; very likely functional, though I never fired it up; a good
deal of the nickel plate is worn through; one pretty good ding in the bottom.
ARROW CAP LAMP.
Top view, ARROW CAP
AL-1: AUTO-LITE: EARLY, INCUSE, SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP: [NLA] This
nickel-plated lamp is the size of a cap lamp (just 3 1/2" tall), but is
equipped with "butterfly" handles, so likely a superintendent's lamp but
perhaps a lamp for camping. Reflector is a deep bell-shaped reflector, but
small, just 2 1/4" in diameter; striker unit is missing; burner tip is
unjacketed "lava". Base is the round style with two reeded bands, and no
markings whatsoever on it. The name Auto Lite and Universal Lamp Co. appear
in incuse letters on the top of the water tank, which is otherwise smooth,
having no water valve control notches. Lamp has one dent about 1/2" across in
the water tank top, plus a smaller one. Nickel plating is remarkably good.
Comes with a screw cap for the base.
Lamp history: Once part of the Peter Hauer collection.
SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP, side view.
SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP, from above.
AL-2: AUTO-LITE CAP LAMP with rare FIRST GENERATION "BUMPERGRIP": [NLA] An
ordinary, but nice condition "Chicago" Auto-Lite cap lamp. What makes this
item extraordinary is the "Bumpergrip", which is made of a dark brown rubber,
and has a completely convex outside profile (not stepped like the normal
"Bumpergrip" we all know so well). The rubber seems to be softer and more
"rubbery" than the later red and black "Bumpergrips" that tended to harden and
crack with age. This "Bumpergrip" matches precisely the "Bumpergrip" design
depicted in the patent sheets for the "Bumpergrip" patent. I wonder how many
of you have seen one of these before? Unfortunately, the difference between
this first generation "Bumpergrip" and the later well-known models does not
show as obviously in the photos as it does in life. Oh well.... A scarce item,
LAMP with ORIGINAL "BUMPERGRIP".
Close up of
ORIGINAL STYLE BUMPERGRIP.
AL-3: AUTO-LITE CAP LAMP with NARROW SPADE and RED "BUMPERGRIP": [NLA] Well,
the title about said it all. This is a "Chicago" Auto-Lite (i.e., the Universal
Lamp Co.'s Chicago address is given on the top of the water tank), and features
the attractive base style that has Auto-Lite embossed on the bottom in large
raised letters (Universal's style before going to the less attractive
thin-letter base stamping). Early red "Bumpergrip" has a lot of cracks, but is
intact and stays put on the base. Spade mount is the less common narrow spade.
Complete except for felt plate and felt holder.
LAMP with NARROW SPADE MOUNT.
AL-4: AUTO-LITE CAP LAMP with SPADE MOUNT: [NLA] A late model Auto-Lite cap
lamp with standard short wide spade mount. Reflector is 3" diameter, and has
one crease in it where someone ran into the mine back or a mine timber.
Complete with felt holder and plate. Heck, I may just keep this for caving.
LAMP, SPADE MOUNT.
AL-5: AUTO-LITE CAP LAMP, MODIFIED: This Auto-Lite came out of the Cumberland
Plateau coalfields in the late 1960s. We had more out-of-work miners then than
employed, and this lamp has been modified for "spotlightin'", i.e., night
hunting, very likely by a former miner. The original reflector ("'flecter", as
the miners 'round here were wont to say) has been replaced by a large brass
reflector taken out of a pre-sealed beam vintage automobile headlight. This
reflector has been neatly modified to fit the Auto-Lite reflector brace and be
held in place by the original reflector wingnut. In the photo some light
corrosion obscures the center of the reflector; this corrosion has built up
during the years this lamp has sat in my collection, and is light and should
be easily removed.
LAMP, with HOMEMADE REFLECTOR.
AL-6: AUTO-LITE CAP LAMP, UNFIRED: [NLA] Standard, late model Auto-Lite cap
lamp with hook and wire side brace mount, 2 1/2" plated ref., "Bumpergrip",
etc. Complete, never fired, condition perfect (dare I say "mint", why YES!).
Complete with original box. The box has yellowed a bit with age, and has some
minor damage, mainly where the wire side braces poked holes in it during
handling. Original store price $3.98 marked in black crayon on top flap.
LAMP, unfired, with original box.
AL-7: AUTO-LITE "SPORTSMAN'S SPECIAL" LAMP and CAP, UNFIRED: [NLA] This is
Auto-Lite No. 115 "Hunter's Lamp" with the ribbed reflector, specially boxed:
lamp comes with its own box; this is inside a larger box which contains a
cloth hat with mounting brace. Lamp and lamp box and cloth cap are perfect,
never used. Outside box has darkened some with age, but otherwise has only
very minor flaws.
AUTO-LITE No. 115
and soft cap.
BW-1: BALDWIN CAP LAMP, UNFIRED: [NLA] Early "pinchwaist" Baldwin with raking
wire and 2" diam. push-on reflector, and wire side braces that do not clamp.
Plating on reflector was very thin to begin with and is gone from age, but not
from use: this lamp has never been fired, and is totally original and
complete, including felt and felt holder and lava tip with the Simmons diamond
Lamp history: This lamp was originally bought for use at Cudjo's Cave, a
commercial cave at Cumberland Gap, Va. It passed into the hands of the
operator of Bristol Caverns (Bristol, Tn.-Va.), then to Roy Davis, renowned
caver and operator of Cumberland Caverns (McMinnville, Tn.). I traded Guy's
Dropper lamps and parts to Roy for Baldwin, a Zar, and a Grier Bros. in the
Early BALDWIN CAP
CAP LAMP, top view.
BW-2: BALDWIN SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP: [NLA] Nickel plated "pinchwaist"
Baldwin with hook and folding handles, 3 7/8" tall to the top of the raking
wire. Presumbably a later model than the above lamp, because a screw-down
positive shut-off valve (well, until the rubber hardened it would have been a
positive shut-off) has been added instead of just a simple raking wire in the
water feed. Complete right down to the lava tip with the Simmons diamond
trademark and internal parts like the felt plate, and in excellent overall
condition. Two flaws: one stress crack in apron at base of tank, and the
push-on reflector is not original with this lamp. It is very old, has the
incredibly thin plating typical of Simmons reflectors, is very similar to other
Baldwin reflectors I have seen, fits right, and may well be a correct
replacement...I cannot say with 100% certainty. Looks good on this lamp,
SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP, side view
SUPERINTENDENT'S, top view
BB-1: BIG-BOY FULL-SHIFT LAMP, UNFIRED, with ORIGINAL BOX: [NLA] A brass
"hand or hanging lamp" by the Universal Lamp Co., advertised as a 10-hour lamp,
which would make it actually longer-burning than a typical full-shift lamp.
Big-Boy stands 6 1/2" tall to the top of the water control, is brass
throughout, but has a steel reinforcing plate on the base, probably to minimize
denting when the miner knocked the spent carbide out. Has a plated 3 7/8"
deep-dish reflector, complete with lighter and flame guard over the burner.
100% complete and 100% original, including the box...I bought it off the shelf
in a mine supply store in the hard rock mining district of Spruce Pine, N.C.,
in Aug. 1966 for $4.30.
BS-1: BRILLIANT SEARCH LIGHT BELT GENERATOR AND HEADLAMP: [NLA] Manufactured
by the Brilliant Search Light Mfg. Co., of Chicago, one of Justrite's local
competitors! Complete and in good condition, even the leather headband is in
good shape; I believe you could fire this one right up with no problems.
Both the main lens and bullseye lens are perfect. Hose is good (could be a
replacement, but if so, not by me). Quite a few chips in the black paint,
affecting the label to some extent; I'd estimate the label to be 75%+ intact.
SEARCH LIGHT, side view, with bullseye lens swung aside.
LIGHT, viewed from above, with bullseye lens closed.
BL-1: BRITE-LITE CAP LAMP: [NLA] Their advertising slogan, found on the top
of the water tank, was "A Different Lamp", and they weren't just a whistling
Dixie (a highly improbable act on the part of the Ohioans of the Harker Mfg.
Co., in any case). This is the "American Bull Dog No. 150" model depicted in
advertising in 1917. It appears to be constructed of steel, finished at the
factory in black paint. Other unusual features include: water feed controlled
by a side-mounted valve lever; off-center lava burner tip aimed up through
the reflector at an angle; reflector held on to water tank by a small screw
through the center; elongate lima-bean-shaped water fill port. Lamp is 3 1/2"
tall to the top of the water door. Two flaws: side mounting braces have been
snapped off; bottom is "frozen" on, perhaps by being stuck to the gasket.
This bottom could probably be removed if someone was clever and careful about
it; I have not attempted to force it for fear of damaging the black paint
finish, but if someone were to carefully pick the gasket out with some sort of
probe... Anyway, a very rare and desirable lamp.
Lamp history: Don't know any particulars, but probably used in the coal fields
of southern Kentucky. I picked this lamp up, along with the Maple City
described later in this list, and an odd Guy's Dropper, for $4 plus a teapot
oil lamp, at a junky antique shop run by a sheriff in Whitley City, Ky., Aug.
1967. Years later I drove back through and stopped in again asking about
carbides. He said he didn't have any good ones, that some feller in a little
old foreign car had got all his good ones. He was obviously regretting this,
so I thanked him and slipped away without letting him glimpse my 51 MG-TD again.
LAMP, side view.
LAMP, viewed from above.
BD-1: BUDDY CAP LAMP: [NLA] Brass Buddy carbide cap lamp, 4" tall to the top
of the water valve control knob; octagonal base, 2 1/2" plated reflector
(with most all the plating worn off) held on by a hex nut. Lamp is complete
and in good shape, except that the two wire side braces have been broken off,
as is commonly the case.
BUDDY CAP LAMP,
BUDDY CAP LAMP,
CR-1: CRESTELLA HAND LAMP, UNFIRED: [NLA] Manufactured by Premier Lamp &
Engineering Co., Ltd., Leeds (England) for use in wet mines, this hand lamp is
fitted with a conical metal umbrella, and stands 11" tall to the point of the
umbrella. It is unfired and in very fine condition, but is missing three
items: a round maker's plate that originally adorned the umbrella (probably
very similar to the one still on the back of the lamp cannister); and it is
missing a glass chimney and chimney ring. See Pohs' big book, pg. 589 to see
what the chimney looked like. The second photo below shows the very
interesting interior of this unusual lamp. A lamp rarely seen in the U.S.
LAMP, front view.
DW-1: DEW-R-LITE BRASS 8-HOUR LAMP: [NLA] This full-shift lamp by the Dewar
Mfg. Co. of Brooklyn is a truly nice lamp; it appears to have had carbide in
the base at least once, and probably has been fired, but let me tell ya, a
fired lamp doesn't come any closer to pristine than this: no dings, no
scratches on the reflector, nothing missing, hook is real sharp and probably
has never been stuck in a timber, even the felt looks new! Lamp stands 7" tall
to the top of the valve stem, has hook and bail for hanging, and vertical
handle for carrying by hand. Reflector is 3 1/2" in diameter, has its lighter
unit, and the original tip is in place under Dewar's distinctive screw-on flame
protector. Made of a nice, heavy gauge brass.
8-HOUR LAMP, side view.
8-HOUR LAMP, apart.
EL-1: ELKHORN CAP LAMP: [NLA] Brass Elkhorn, just under 4" tall; 2 1/2"
unplated brass reflector in good shape, complete with lighter. This lamp has
seen some rough usage: missing felt plate and holder; wire side braces broken
off; water valve stem stuck in one position; bottom of base is pretty badly
beaten up, apparently by the miner knocking spent carbide out; 2 stress cracks
in bottom. Still, a basically not bad example of an uncommon marque.
ELKHORN CAP LAMP, top
ELKHORN CAP LAMP,
FS-1: FLEMINGS SPECIAL: [NLA] This galvanized steel 8-hour lamp stands 7"
tall to the top of the brass valve stem; it is equipped with a 4" plated
reflector, and the tip is protected by a screw-on flame protector. Lamp has a
hook and bail and folding "butterfly" handles as well. Brass trim includes the
reflector brace, the valve stem, the screw-in water door (held by a chain), and
both male and female threads joining the water tank and base, plus a nifty
little plaque soldered onto the left side of the water tank that says "Flemings
Special". A rare handlamp in the US. Unfired and as perfect as they come.
Lamp history: Made in Germany by special order for P. M. Fleming of
Haileybury, Ontario, who operated a mine-supply business. In the late 70s, I
bought several of these from his son, Richard J. Fleming, who wanted to sell
me all his remaining stock (not many), but I couldn't hack it at $25 a pop in
FF-1: FORCE FEED CAP LAMP: [NLA] One of Augie L. Hansen's beautiful lamps,
the Force Feed has the same gorgeous "quilted" base as the Hansen lamp, and
indeed the same body design, screw-in burner tip, stout reflector brace and
mounting bracket as the Hansen. But the Force Feed's claim to fame was what
Clemmer (1987) described as "a more dynamic water valve, one that forced water
into the carbide chamber through a positive pressure device". Somehow this was
accomplished by a plunger that operates through the valve stem, but I still
don't know what the plunger was supposed to do, or how it was supposed to do
it! Another unusual feature of this lamp is its lighter, which, instead of
sitting above the plane of the reflector as in most lamps, is largely mounted
behind the reflector, with only a small portion of the rim of the sparker wheel
protruding through a slot in the unplated brass reflector.
CAP LAMP, from side.
CAP LAMP, from above.
GM-1: GEM CAP LAMP: [NLA] The Gem Manufacturing Co. took over the facilities
of the Grier Bros. Co. in 1924, and by 1925 was producing carbide lamps with
the name "Gem". Evidently production was low or years of production few, for
Gem lamps are one of the scarcer brand names today. This all-brass cap lamp
stands 3 5/8" high, and bears a 2 1/2" reflector of unplated brass, held on by
a brass hex nut. This lamp is missing its wire sidebraces (clip-ins, a la Guys
Dropper, and therefore easy to lose or break off); the screw cap and lighter
spring are missing; the water door has gotten mashed, but still functions.
Lamp is in better shape than the photos suggest, for I have allowed a bit of
light corrosion develop on it just sitting in a display case; will clean up
GEM CAP LAMP,
GEM CAP LAMP
GB-1: GRIER BROS. CAP LAMP, UNFIRED: [NLA] Horizontal water tank model, with
built-in 2 1/2" unplated relector with original unjacketed lava burner tip.
Lamp is 4" tall to top of water valve control knob. Hook and flat side clips
intact. Complete and in near perfect condition (just a few minor dings on
water tank), but with the sloppy soldering that seems to have been common on
Lamp history: This lamp has the same history as the unfired Baldwin
pinchwaist described above (lamp no. BW-1).
GRIER BROS CAP
LAMP, side view.
GRIER BROS CAP
LAMP, top view.
GB-2: GRIER BROS CAP LAMP with SELF REAMER: [NLA] Nickel plated vertical
style Grier Bros. cap lamp with push-button self reamer and clip-on 3" plated
reflector. 4" tall to top of water door. The self reamer makes this a very
desireable lamp, but the lamp is not without some flaws: the tip of the self
reamer wire is broken off so that it no longer reaches the burner tip to
actually do the job it was intended to (however, the spring-loaded button
functions just fine); the mounting hook is missing; felt plate and holder are
missing; bottom has a number of vertical stress cracks. Still a nice item.
Comes with a spare bottom with screw cap.
GRIER BROS CAP
LAMP with self-reamer, backside.
GRIER BROS CAP
LAMP with self-reamer, top view.
GB-3: GRIER BROS CAP LAMP: [NLA] This horizontal tank Grier cap lamp has a
somewhat funky water valve control lever that consists of a brass wire bent
into a form that leaves one end of the wire pointing vertically downward, where
it engages in a series of round indentations to set the water valve lever
position. The bottom, which bears a 1921 patent date, is not original with
this lamp, but is a Grier bottom and fits the lamp perfectly.
GRIER BROS CAP
LAMP, side view.
GRIER BROS CAP
LAMP, top view.
GD-1: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, 2-DATE, ROUND BOTTOM: [NLA] An early model Guy's
Dropper cap lamp, probably produced in the 1916-1921 epoch (refer to Dave
Thorpe's excellent history of the Guy's Dropper lamps, Eureka, Issue No. 9).
Has a 3" diameter plated reflector (striker unit missing), held on with a
hex nut, rather than the later wing nut. Burner tip, which is broken, is an
unjacketed lava tip. Wire side braces are intact and in good condition. Base
has a number of dings, all minor, and the water tank has several stress cracks,
but they are tight, not gaping, with the exception of one in the skirt that the
base screws into-- it opens if the base is screwed in tightly. Note: Base is
stamped "Made in U.S.A. Patented" like an early Auto-Lite base. But the patina
strongly suggests that it has been with this lamp a long time, if not from the
beginning. What about that, Dave, did any authentic Shanklin bottoms bear this
CAP LAMP, 2-DATE,ROUND BOTTOM.
GD-2: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, HEX-BOTTOM: [NLA] This nickel-plated "2-date"
Guy's Dropper cap lamp is in excellent condition, though hardly perfect. The
wire clips are missing, as is the felt holder (and maybe the felt plate-- I
haven't taken out the fragile felt to see). But the nickel plating is still
very good, and dings are very minor. Sports a 2 1/4" plated reflector, held in
place by Shanklin's distinctive flat wing nut with the big up-turned flanges.
The Dropper mechanism is the early round type with a single knurled band around
it. The hexagonal base is of the improved type with the inward curve at the
bottom. See Dave Thorpe's fine article on Guy's Dropper history in Eureka,
Issue No. 9 for more on the significance of these details.
CAP LAMP, HEX-BOTTOM.
GD-3: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, SET-SCREW REFLECTOR: [NLA] This "2-date" Guy's
Dropper is in really nice shape, almost nothing in the way of dings, and it has
developed a nice patina of age. Reflector is 2 1/4" in diameter, unplated.
Lamp is missing the felt plate and holder, but the presence of the perforated
end cap on the Dropper mechanism more than makes up for this. It lacks side
clips, but that is original and correct for set-screw reflector models, as
documented by Thorpe in his fine history of the Guy's Droppers lamps (Eureka,
issue no. 9). The unjacketed lava burner tip is a replacement.
CAP LAMP, SET-SCREW REFLECTOR.
CAP LAMP, SET-SCREW REFLECTOR, left side.
GD-4: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, 6-DATE, with "BACKWARDS" WATER DOOR: [NLA]
This 6-date Guy's Dropper cap lamp by Shanklin has the water door hinged on the
opposite side from the normal placement, which makes it a bit odd, though
hardly rare-- many have been found. Burner tip is the old style big jacketed
tip that pulls out when the wingnut is unscrewed. Some stress cracks in the
water tank; missing the wire clip-in style side braces, and the 2 5/8" plated
reflector has taken a couple of good hits. Not a museum piece, but an
interesting old Dropper.
CAP LAMP with "BACKWARDS" WATER DOOR.
GD-5: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, 6-DATE, NICKEL PLATED, with "BACKWARDS" WATER
DOOR: [NLA] Another 6-date Guy's Dropper cap lamp by Shanklin with the
backwards mounted water door. But this one is nickel plated, and is in very
excellent shape: no dings, just one stress crack in the skirt, and the plating
in excellent shape. The reflector is a 2 5/8" diameter plated reflector, held
on by the old-style flat wing nut, has been hit at sometime, hard enough to
leave a ring in it from the reflector brace; the clip-in style wire side
braces are missing, as usual. All in all, a very nice lamp.
CAP LAMP, 6-DATE, NICKEL PLATED, with "BACKWARDS" WATER DOOR.
GD-6: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, 6-DATE: [NLA] Nothing special, just a pretty
good old pre-1932 Shanklin Guy's Dropper cap lamp. Has the corrugated bottom
with one row of knurling or reeding above the corrugations. Reflector, 2 1/2"
plated, with a ring around the rim, looks like a Universal Lamp Co. product,
and if so, is a replacement. Reflector is held on with Shanklin's old-style
flat wing nut.
CAP LAMP, 6-DATE.
GD-7: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, 6-DATE, NICKEL PLATED: [NLA] This nickel plated
Guy's Dropper cap lamp has seen some hard usage. Much of the plating is worn
off, especially on the base. The reflector, 2 3/4", plated, is pretty beat up.
There is one major stress crack split in the apron below the water tank. Wire
side clips were of the separate piece, clip-in style, and are missing. Base is
of the ribbed type with the single band of knurling along the bottom, and bears
the Shanklin stamp. I would have thought this was a post-1932 lamp and that it
originally bore Universal's "Bumpergrip" in the groove between the ribs and the
knurling, but Thorpe's history of the design changes (Eureka, Issue No. 9)
indicates that this design pre-dates the take over of Shanklin by Universal.
So why the groove? Go figure.
CAP LAMP, 6-DATE, NICKEL PLATED.
GD-8: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, 6-DATE: [NLA] Complete, right on down to the
wire side clips, and completely original. Reflector is 2 1/4" diameter,
plated, with flat center. Base bears the Shanklin Mfg. Co. stamping, but the
"Bumpergrip" tells us this is a post-1932 lamp with the Universal Lamp Co. in
control. Lamp is in very nice shape, with perhaps 40-50% of the original
CAP LAMP, 6-DATE.
GD-9: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, 6-DATE, SPADE MOUNT: [NLA] This lamp is 100%
complete, and completely original. Only flaw is that most of the original
finish is gone. The 2 1/4" plated reflector is in excellent shape. There are
no stress cracks. The spade mount is of the short variety. I may need to
keep this one for caving-- we'll see if someone else wants it.
CAP LAMP, 6-DATE, SPADE MOUNT.
GD-10: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, DOUBLE HOOK MODEL, UNFIRED, with ORIGINAL BOX:
[NLA] Hoo-boy! Unfired, perfect as they come, complete with box in
excellentisimo condition, and a hard-to-find double hook model at that. Need I
say more? Well, OK, just a little: 2 3/8" plated reflector with ring around
the rim; clip-in wire sidebraces; scarcely any age flaws in the lacquered
finish; absolutely 100% complete and 100% original. Box has two small holes of
uncertain origin, and one small ink-marked area where a price may have been
HOOK GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, side view.
HOOK GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP, showing double hook mount.
GD-11: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP with SPECIAL WIND-PROOF TIP: Don't know if this
burner tip is a Universal Lamp Co. product or not. I suspect not, but in any
case these special wind-proof tips were cherished by some of the Cumberland
Plateau coal miners, and are a scarce item today. Lamp is missing the wire
clip-in style side braces, but is otherwise in excellent shape: no dings or
CAP LAMP with WIND PROOF TIP.
GD-12: GUY'S DROPPER CAP LAMP with CANVAS CAP: [NLA] A standard, recent model
Guy's Dropper lamp by the Universal Lamp Co., in excellent condition: no
dings, no stress cracks, and much of the original finish intact. The original
wire clip-style side braces have been lost and replaced by a very neatly made
homemade set that work as well as the originals. Burner tip is a vented lava
tip that is probably older than the lamp itself, but one that is superior in
its wind resistance to the brass jacketed tip that was original. This lamp
comes mounted on a white canvas cap with a "Double Safety" lamp mount on front.
Altogether a very nice ensemble.
CAP LAMP with CANVAS CAP.
GD-13: GUY'S DROPPER, CAP LAMP, SPADE MOUNT: A standard, recent model Guy's
Dropper lamp by the Universal Lamp Co., with the typical long wide spade.
Three-inch plated reflector in excellent shape. Lamp is complete and
completely original as far as I can tell. Has seen a lot of use, but by a
careful coal miner on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee who, when he knocked
the spent carbide out of the carbide chamber, nicely distributed the consequent
denting evenly all around the sides of the carbide chamber. Gives the lamp
base a just slightly caved-in look that is one of the lamp's attractive
GUY'S DROPPER CAP
LAMP, SPADE MOUNT.
GD-14: GUY'S DROPPER "TALL BOY" HAND LAMP: [NLA] A very excellent condition
hand lamp, 100% complete, and completely original (with the exception of a
homemade rubber gasket added beneath the factory gasket for some reason). No
dings, no stress cracks, no flaws at all in the lamp body that I see. Lamp has
the big 7" reflector, and its plating is nearly perfect, but it has caught a
couple of dings. Burner tip is shielded with a flame protector. Lamp stands
5" tall to the top of the water door, and of course, features an extra tall
water chamber and carbide base. A very fine example of this model.
"TALL BOY" HAND LAMP.
"TALL BOY" HAND LAMP, another view.
Historical aside: Where did the name "Tall Boy", commonly used by collectors
to designate this lamp, come from? As far as I know it is not in any of the
advertizing literature, and is not an official Shanklin or Universal
designation. Shanklin consistently referred to the lamps as Superintendent's
lamps. Well, I might be wrong, but I think I know the origin: me! I believe
I nicknamed this lamp the "Tall Boy" when corresponding with Henry Pohs about
it some time around 1966 or 67. He picked the name up, and from him, other
collectors. Well, I can't be sure, after all these years, that this is how it
happened, but I think so. If anyone who reads this knows differently, please
let me know. I am curious!
GD-15: GUY'S DROPPER 8-HOUR HANGING LAMP: [NLA] While Guy's Dropper cap lamps
abound, and "Tall Boy" hand lamps are not rare, a Guy's Dropper 8-hour or full
shift lamp is a rarety in my experience. I only know of two models, the
"straight waist" model, which is probably the earlier of the two, and the
"pinch waist" model, which is probably the later (see Pohs' big book, pg. 480).
The lamp described here belongs to the first category. It is a nickel-plated,
steel lamp with hook and bail for hanging, and handle on the backside for
carrying. The top carries six patent dates, so I guess we could call this a
"6-date Dropper". The reflector is slightly over 3" in diameter, of deep dish
design, originally plated, and held to the reflector brace by the old style
Shanklin flat wing nut and a pair of striker units ("dual ignition"!). The
major flaw with this lamp is that the carbide bottom appears to be an Acme or
Justrite bottom. Nonetheless, it has been with this lamp a long time, and
indeed, this lamp was in use with this bottom when I acquired it in 1965. This
lamp performed many an hour of faithful service in hardrock mines before being
retired to my collection.
Lamp history: This lamp was being used in 1965 by John Lambertson in the Star
Mine and Independent Mine, both of which he held claims on. The mines are
located in a cirque below the peak of North Italian Mtn., Colorado. Lambertson
was a Swedish-American miner of the type mine artifact collectors have all read
about and admired: hearty, independent, stubborn, and always in hopes of
striking it rich. He had worked here as a teenager, then moved on. When the
Depression struck he drifted around, but ultimately came back to Italian Mtn.
and began working abandoned claims. He was 75 when I met him in '65 and still
going underground daily. He was developing his mine he said, in hopes of
selling out to a "big company". He lived, with his invalid wife, in a mine
camp building he had rehabilitated; they had no electric power and were 50
miles from the nearest town of any size; about once a month John would carry
his wife out to his 4WD pick-up and they'd drive into Gunnison for supplies;
until late in his life the two of them continued to live here even through the
winters at 11,500 ft above sea level! I doff my hardhat to John Lambertson--
'twas your type that made America strong in the first half of the 20th century.
8-HOUR HANGING LAMP.
HN-1: HANSEN CARBIDE CAP LAMP: [NLA] In my opinion, this is the most
beautiful of all carbide lamps. And in addition to its esthetic design, it is
one of the best constructed of all lamps, being fabricated of what feels like
stouter gauge materials than many contemporary lamps, and reinforced in many
ways to make what must have been a highly durable lamp. The Hansen stands
3 5/8" tall, and carries a 2 1/2" unplated brass reflector held by a stout
steel support that clasps it in an embrace that protects it from both forward
and backward striking blows. The reflector brace also supports the
spring-loaded "Snap Lite" self-striker that ignites the gas jetting from the
unique Hansen burner tip which screws into (not over) the gas tube. The water
door is hinged differently from other carbide lamps, flopping straight back
toward the mounting hook on a horizontal hinge pin that is held in an extension
of the steel reflector brace. But the crowning glory of this lamp is its lovely
"quilted" carbide base, which, aside from giving a good grip, is truly a thing
of beauty. This particular lamp has been fired, maybe used some, but is in
near-perfect condition. It's sole flaw is that the side clips have been broken
off; the replacement clips are interesting in their own right: a very neatly
done job, expertly manufactured by none other than the Dean of American Carbide
Lamp Collectors, Henry A. Pohs.
LAMP, left side.
LAMP, right side.
LAMP, top view.
Supply Kit, contents listed on the top. [NLA]
Supply Kit with its full compliment of parts. [NLA]
IT-1: ITP SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP: [NLA] Nickel plated ITP ("It's Trouble
Proof") hand lamp or "superintendent's lamp" with hook and folding handles;
manufactured by Dewar. 5 1/8" tall to top of water valve control knob, with 3"
plated reflector sporting Dewar's famous screw-on vented flame protector.
Complete except for the ring that ought to be in the water valve control knob;
one pretty good sized ding in the side of the base, and some minor ones in the
bottom of the base. Moderate amount of plating worn off. Definitely been
used, but very probably still functional.
ITP HAND LAMP,
IT-2: ITP HAND LAMP, UNFIRED: [NLA] A lightly tinned steel hook and bail
lamp; looks to be identical to that pictured on Poh's book pg. 515. This lamp
is unfired, complete, including original the box (unmarked brown cardboard).
Except for the disappearance of some of the thin plating, presumeably an effect
of aging, this lamp is perfect. Especially attractive features:
1) rectangular brass plaque on one side giving the name "ITP Carbide Mine Lamp"
and the maker "DEWAR MFG. CO.", patent dates, etc.; 2) Dewar's vented
screw-on flame protector; 3) stylish flared metal reflector brace; 4) brass
water door and valve stem.
IT-3: ITP "FLOAT-FEED" CAP LAMP: [NLA] A nickel plated ITP ("It's Trouble
Proof") cap lamp by the Dewar Mfg. Co., complete and in excellent condition.
Has the 2 3/8" diameter cast aluminum reflector (in perfect condition), held to
the lamp with a hex nut, and equipped with a lighter. Burner tip is correct
ITP tip, presumably the original. Water tank has a few tiny dings, and a spot
of excess solder that shows in the second photo. The base has a few small
dings and the nickel plating on the base shows a good deal of wear, but overall
this is an excellent condition lamp. You could probably charge it up and go
right in on a shift (except for the fact that you'd get thrown out of most
mines, if not arrested, for an open flame lamp today!).
ITP CAP LAMP,
ITP CAP LAMP,
VIEWED FROM ABOVE.
JR-1: JUSTRITE SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP: [NLA] Nickel plated, horizontal style
superintendent's lamp with 2 1/2" built in reflector with lighter. Lamp
features the early style "curl-back" water control lever, oval water door, and
beaded bottom. Lamp stands 3 3/4" tall to the top of the water door, and, of
course, folding handles in addition to the normal mounting hook. I estimate
this lamp to have been produced between 1914 and 1919. The beaded bases do not
show in Justrite's catalog No. 1 (1913), but do show in advertising in 1915;
the "curl-back" water control lever has disappeared by the time of the issuance
of Catalog No. 3 in 1919. This example has quite a few dings, but is complete
and a good piece.
SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP, nickel plated, beaded base.
JR-2: JUSTRITE SPIRAL FEED CAP LAMP: [NLA] A brass, horizontal style,
beaded bottom Justrite cap lamp, with 2 1/2" built-in reflector, oval water
door, and featuring one of Justrite's more novel ideas, the "Spiral Feed"
water control. The "Spiral Feed" was patented Oct. 24, 1916 and assigned to
Justrite by Augie L. Hansen (who later created his own famous lamps). The idea
behind the spiral feed was that no matter which way one tilted the lamp there
would always be some water pulled by gravity down the corkscrew water path.
Looks like an invitation to clogging to me, but the feed had some degree of
popularity in its day. This lamp is complete; all original as far as I know,
including the unjacketed lava tip, but the felt holder might be a replacement;
clean and in excellent condition with only very minor dings. Really nice lamp!
FEED CAP LAMP, side view.
FEED CAP LAMP, top view.
spiral feed valve stems and box. [NLA]
JR-3: JUSTRITE SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP: [NLA] Nickel-plated, horizontal water
tank superintendent's lamp with 3" diameter built-in reflector, hook and folding
handles, round water door, and "wire feed" valve stem. Lamp stands 4 1/4" tall
to top of water door, but the short (regular size) carbide base may not be
original with this lamp-- probably should have the taller size base.
Justrite's Catalog No. 5 (1921?), and Catalogs Nos. 6 and 7 all show
Superintendent's lamp No. 95, which looks like this lamp with a taller base.
A Justrite lamp, evidently No. 95, shows in the 1929 Mine & Smelter Supply Co.
catalog, but under a M&SS catalog number. The latest patent date on this lamp
is Nov. 28, 1915, but the cuts in catalogs 5, 6 & 7 all show lamps with 1913
as the latest patent date. Justrite's Catalog No. 3 for 1919 does not list
the "wire feed" water control, which is listed in 1921 catalogs (Pohs refers to
this valve stem as the "wire feed redesign", because the earliest water feeds
were a type of wire feed). 1921 catalogs also show the introduction of the
ribbed carbide bases. From all the above, I conclude that this lamp is a model
No. 95, with a short base replacing the original base, and was likely
manufactured between 1921 and 1930, probably in the late twenties. Missing
felt plate and felt holder; some dings in the water tank, and base shows some
effects of knocking out spent carbide. Definitely saw some use!
No. 95 SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP.
A LITTLE CLOSER
JR-4: JUSTRITE VERTICAL STYLE CAP LAMP with "PROTECTO-GRIP": [NLA] Brass,
"vertical style" Justrite cap lamp, listed in Justrite's Catalog No. 10 as
Model No. 661. This is the later model vertical Justrite that features the
water control lever with the highly distinctive ball on the end. See photo on
pg. 450 of Pohs' Miner's Flame Light Book. Lamp has one good ding in the top,
and reflector has undoubtedly struck the mine back a few times, but over all
condition is pretty good. The main flaw is the "Protecto-Grip", which has
hardened and partially chipped off.
VERTICAL STYLE CAP LAMP with "PROTECTO-GRIP", from the side.
VERTICAL STYLE CAP LAMP with "PROTECTO-GRIP", from above.
JR-5: JUSTRITE HORIZONTAL STYLE CAP LAMP: [NLA] A brass, horizontal style
water tank Justrite cap lamp with a 4" diameter detachable reflector with
lighter. Lamp is in good shape but is missing the wire side braces, and the
base is encrusted in a red material that looks like plastic, but could be
hardened rubber. I do not know if "Protecto-Grips" ever came in red and if
this could possibly be the remains of one; I rather suspect it was a home-made
attempt at a "Protecto-Grip". In any case, it looks like it could be fairly
easily picked off the base to clean it up; I have not done this, because I
believe in leaving most lamps as I acquire them, their defects being part of
their history and character.
Additional note: Mike Puhl has confirmed for me that "Protecto Grips" came in
red! I still don't know if the melted mess on this lamp is the remains of an
original "Protecto Grip" or not, but the chances are now improved! If I bought
this lamp, I'd do just what I've done with it: leave the red stuff in place!
HORIZONTAL STYLE CAP LAMP.
JR-6: JUSTRITE HORIZONTAL STYLE SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP: [NLA] A nickel plated
horizontal style water tank Justrite Superintendent's lamp with a detachable
4" diameter plated reflector. Folding handles are held in spread position by a
wire brace that may or may not be original; I have never noted this feature in
any Justrite catalog, and it could easily be a homemade adaptation; in any
case, it is neatly and effectively done. Lamp is complete and in excellent
shape; plating shows some wear, especially on the ribs on the base, but there
are no dings worth noting. Nice piece.
HORIZONTAL STYLE SUPERINTENDENT'S LAMP.
JR-7: JUSTRITE HORIZONTAL STYLE CAP LAMP with "AIR-COOLED GRIP": [NLA] Brass,
horizontal water tank, with 2 1/2" detachable, unplated reflector. Lamp is
complete and completely original; one good ding in the water tank, but over
all condition is quite good: it retains much of the original finish, the side
clips are intact, and the rubber in the "Air-Cooled Grip" is still pliable.
LAMP with "AIR-COOLED GRIP".
JR-8: JUSTRITE No. 2-501, UNFIRED, with ORIGINAL BOX: [NLA] Justrite Mfg.
Co.'s No. 2-501 is a brass 8-hour or full shift lamp, accoutred with a hook and
bail, plus vertical handle, and a 4" deep dish plated reflector. This lamp is
6 1/2" high to the top of the valve stem. It is unfired, complete, and mint.
Comes with its original red and white box.
Lamp history: I bought this lamp off the shelf in Casa Mormack, Tegucigalpa,
Honduras, in 1974, back when I was working as an exploration geologist for the
Rosario Resources Corp. (the New York & Honduras Rosario Mining Co. from 1878
until the 1970s when they began to get big-for-their-britches ideas). Had it
not passed into my collection, this lamp most likely would have wound up
underground in one of Honduras' silver mines.
JR-9: JUSTRITE NO. 12 ACETYLENE LANTERN: [NLA] Well, I think it is a No. 12;
I've never known for certain how to tell No. 10 and No. 12 apart, but in the
catalog cuts the 12 looks to be slimmer and of nicer lines than the earlier 10,
and mine looks like a 12 to me. Lantern is complete and in near-perfect
condition, just a couple of dings in the base. Bullseye lens and glass chimney
are perfect. There is one puzzlement: all the advertisements I have in my
collection of literature say the lantern is nickel plated, as every other one I
have seen has been. This lantern is not nickel plated, but I don't see any
reason to believe it has been stripped, in fact I believe I see traces of an
original lacquer finish here and there. I'll have to say I do not know if this
lantern was ever nickel plated or not.
Additional note: Mike Puhl has confirmed for me that this lantern is a No. 12.
Additional note, Dec. 1, 1999: Lamp collector Andrew Peacock has informed me
that he has a No. 10 lantern that has seen very little wear (is in its original
box) and which is of unplated brass. If the No. 10s were available unplated,
the No. 12s most probably were too. Thus the lack of plating on my lamp is
almost certainly the way it came from the factory. Thanks for the info, Andrew!
LU-1: LU-MI-NUM CAP LAMP: [NLA] I have always thought Fred R. Belt's cap
lamp to be one of the finest lamps from an engineering design standpoint. It
is made of cast aluminum, so it is light weight; it is finned to dissipate
heat and the fins provide excellent gripping surfaces; the carbide base is
held on with lugs, so there is never any worry about threads wearing out or
gumming up; if the water valve wears, it can be reset by merely loosening a
screw and turning the valve stem; the gasket is built in to a groove in the
carbide base so it doesn't fall off during carbide changing; and the lamp is
very compact. What a list of features! But it also had its shortcomings, as I
found out when I used one for caving (not the one being offered for sale here):
the carbide base is too small and the small charge burns out too fast; the
2 1/4" aluminum reflector doesn't put out enough light for cave passages
(probably not much of a problem in the confines of a coal mine). Anyway, this
is a great lamp design and a great item for a mine lamp collector. This lamp
is complete, but the striker unit is probably a replacement, maybe a Universal
Note that this lamp has not only the standard hook, but also the side brace,
which is rarely seen with these lamps. Reason? Well, as far as I can figure
it out, the side brace was screw-mounted mounted onto the miner's helmet,
rather than being attached to the lamp. So when the lamp was hooked onto the
helmet, it then snapped into place in the spring-clamp style side brace. But
when the lamp was taken off the helmet, the side brace didn't come with it.
Hence you rarely find one of these lamps with the side brace. And indeed,
this lamp did not come with this particular brace; the brace I picked up years
ago when I traded for some Lu-Mi-Num lamp parts.
Lamp history: Same as GD-14, this lamp was still in use when I traded for it
in 1965. It was being used by John Lambertson, a Swedish-American miner, then
75, who was still working the Independent and Star mines at North Italian Mtn.,
north of Crested Butte, Colorado. It was a rare privilege for me to get to
know him as I worked on a geologic map of the Italian Mtn. area for my master's
thesis. Lord, the mountain in those days was loaded with relics: ore carts in
one drift, a miner's whim (horse-powered winch) lying beside an abandoned
shaft, a horse-drawn road grader abandoned by an old road, a single cylinder
gasoline winch (that Lambertson kept in tip-top shape) in the shaft house of
the Star Mine, an assay lab full of stuff, a steam winch and big whistle atop
the shafthouse! I'm sure its all gone now.
LAMP, side view.
LAMP, top view.
LU-2: LU-MI-NUM LAMP NO. 7: [NLA] Lu-Mi-Num Lamp four-hour hand lamp or
half shift lamp manufactured by the Fred R. Belt Co. of Chicago. For me, this
is the most beautifully designed of all aluminum lamps, incorporating all the
advantages mentioned above in the description of the cap lamp, without the
problem of insufficient carbide capacity, and with the added bonus of a plated
reflector mounted over a full-support cast aluminum reflector brace, so the
miner had a polished reflector and one that wouldn't get easily bent. Has a
handle for carrying and aiming, plus a hook and bail for hanging the lamp from
a timber or rock projection at the working face. 5 3/4" high to the top of the
water valve control lever. A very very nice lamp with only a single small
flaw: the thumb tab on the water door has been broken off. Otherwise a rather
No. 7, side view
No. 7, top view
MC-1: MAPLE CITY CAP LAMP: [NLA] The Maple City is one of the stranger
designs among carbide miners' lamps. The carbide bottom is female-threaded and
screws on over the male-threaded bottom of the water tank. Screw-in water cap
has a retaining hook to keep it from getting lost on the floor of a mine during
refilling. Lamp is 3 1/2" tall to top of water valve control knob. This
example is missing its reflector, and the hook has been resoldered (possibly
not the original hook); some dings, especially in the water tank. This rare
lamp probably saw its working days underground in the coal mines of
Kentucky/Tennessee. I collected it (and the Brite-Lite described above) in
Whitley City, Ky. in the late 1960s.
MAPLE CITY CAP
LAMP, missing reflector.
MAPLE CITY CAP
MI-1: MILBURN No. 22 LAMP: [NLA] According to a description in the 1920 R.
H. Hyland Co. catalog, this steel area lamp was "especially adapted for use in
mines and tunnels. It may be furnished with open jet burner or with
transparent mica windshield or 6-inch aluminum reflector. The burner joint is
universal so it may be swung either horizontally or vertically."
The Milburn 22 stands a full 11 inches tall to the top of the sealing
thumbscrew, and the body is approximately six inches in diameter. This
particular example has the 6-inch reflector, with a forked burner tip that is
a full inch across. The normal carbide charge was 1 pound (!) of carbide;
water was added to the tank by unscrewing a flanged disc at the top of the
concave-dished water tank, and pouring the water directly onto the tank top--
the concave dish funneling the water into the tank. This example is in
working condition-- I have fired it up-- although there is some leakage around
the old gasket. When operating at full capacity the lamp is rated at 100
candlepower, and runs 8 hours.
The history of this lamp is the same as that of BW-1.
MILBURN No. 22 LAMP.
PLAQUE ON FRONT OF
MILBURN No. 22 LAMP.
MILBURN No. 22 LAMP READY
PI-1: PIONEER CAP LAMP: [NLA] This brass carbide cap lamp was manufactured
by the John Simmons Co. and carries the familiar Simmons diamond-shaped logo on
the water tank; Baldwin patents are also acknowledged on the water tank.
Nowhere does the name "Pioneer" appear on this lamp, or, as far as I know, any
lamp. But the advertising copy for these lamps shows that they were sold under
the name "Pioneer", and the boxes were also marked "Pioneer", so we have the
Pioneer brand, even if we have no lamps marked Pioneer. Lamp is 4" high to the
top of the water door; 2 1/2" plated reflector screws on; lava tip with the
Simmons diamond trademark shape. This lamp has been fired, but probably never
used on a work scene-- excepting tarnish and some spotting on the reflector
plating, this lamp is perfect and perfectly complete and original.
PIONEER CAP LAMP,
PIONEER CAP LAMP,
SM-1: SHANKLIN METAL PRODUCTS CO. CAP LAMP: [NLA] The Shanklin Metal Products
Co. made a carbide lamp that looked nearly identical to the Guy's Dropper lamp
manufactured at the same time by the Shanklin Mfg. Co., and therein lies a
tale, which you can read about in Pohs' big book, pgs. 480-481. But to
summarize, the three Shanklin brothers disagreed about what to do with the
original company, and brother William set up a new company, the Shanklin Metal
Products Co. The lamp pictured below is a SMP lamp, and the bottom of the
carbide base is clearly marked "Shanklin Metal Products Co., Springfield, Ill."
But on the top of the water tank the name "Shanklin" has been neatly obscured
with solder, leaving only the "Metal Products Co." portion of the name showing.
A number of lamps have been found in this condition, suggesting some dispute
went on over the rights to the use of the name Shanklin. Lamp stands 3 1/2"
tall, is equipped with a 2 3/8" non-plated brass reflector of the type shaped
to fit against the water tank, obviating the need for a separate reflector
brace. Wire side braces are sloppily soldered on, and are probably a remake
job. No stress cracks, no dings; just a little corrosion spotting here and
there; lamp is very shiny and appears to have been buffed by a previous owner.
I bought this lamp in 1978 at The Silent Woman Antique Shop right in the
hometown of the Shanklins-- Springfield, Ill.
PRODUCTS CO. CAP LAMP, side view.
PRODUCTS CO. CAP LAMP, from above.
SP-1: SPRINGFIELD CAP LAMP: [NLA] This Springfield cap lamp must have seen
some real working days, for the water control lever has worn away some of the
lettering on the tank top. Nonetheless, the lamp is complete and without much
in the way of dings. Its major flaw is a hole about a quarter inch long formed
at one of the angles in the octagonal base. I've seen stress cracks on a lot
of lamps, but never before a hole with the appearance of being the result of
corrosion. Don't know how it got there. Reflector is 2 1/2" in diameter and
made in an unusual "coolie hat" shape; it is held on with a hex nut, there
being no reflector brace, but a collar on the gas tube that the nut screws down
against, with the reflector in between.
CAP LAMP, side view.
CAP LAMP, top view.
SQ-1: SQUARELITE CAP LAMP: [NLA] In my volumes of info on carbide lamps, I
include the Squarelite under the section on Guy's Droppers. After all, it
bears the name "Guy's Dropper" on the water tank, and the 1916 patent sheet
makes no claim for anything other than an "ornamental design" by George R.
Shanklin. Yes, the Squarelite was nothing but a Guy's Dropper with an
ornamental body shape. So what are we doing way down here in the "S"
department instead of being up in the "G"s? I don't know. Could be I was
teasing those who came down the list alphabetically. Or could be the
Squarelite is so very distinctive in form, that I, and I suspect most
collectors, think of it as a separate brand name, even though it really isn't.
Anyway, here we are, and here is a very very fine lamp with a unique history.
This nickel plated Squarelite is complete, apparently completely original, and
in very excellent condition. Soldered on wire side braces are in perfect
shape, the plating is good and there are scarcely any dings (one slight crease
in the 3 plated reflector, and a barely discernable mash in one side of the
water tank). Lamp stands 3 7/8" tall to the top of the water door. On this
model the shield bearing the name "SQUARELITE" (on the right side of the water
tank) is fully visible, although the shallow stamped lettering does not come
out in the photo well at all. No doubt about it, this lamp is a rare jewel;
now take a look at its history, and you'll see why it is even more special than
you might imagine.
Lamp history: This lamp was the personal property of Mr. Joseph D. McGill, who
began working for the Shanklin brothers in 1916 at age 16. McGill told me he
began by soldering bottoms on the porch of the Shanklin house, before they had
a proper factory building. He stuck with the company through its buy-out by
the Universal Lamp Co. He eventually rose to become Secretary-Treasurer of the
Park-Sherman Co., the successor company to Universal after their move from
Illinois to Tennessee. I first interviewed Mr. McGill in 1966 (see Pohs' big
book, pg. 472), just prior to his retirement, after 50 years service. Later,
I visited him in his home back in Springfield, and acquired this lamp from him
in 1978. I have a letter of documentation from Mr. McGill. Yes, a very
special item, this one.
LAMP, right side.
LAMP, from above.
LAMP, ready for carbide charging.
SR-1: SUN-RAY CAP or HAND LAMP with "HAN-DE-HAN-DEL": [NLA] The Sun-Ray lamp
by the Dewar Mfg. Co. is one of the most beautiful of all carbide cap lamp
designs: sun-burst on the reflector and smiling sun emblem on the water tank
top. Another unusual and attractive feature is the numbering of the water valve
control notches. Lamp is nickel plated, and features the 3-position
"Han-de-Han-del" that allows it to be carried as a hand lamp, or, used as a cap
lamp with the handle folded back. Lamp is 3 1/2" tall to the top of the water
control. Lamp is complete and completely original.
SUN-RAY CAP LAMP
with 3-position "Han-de-Han-del" in up position.
SUN-RAY CAP LAMP, top
view with 3-position handle in horizontal position.
VC-1: VICTOR CAP LAMP, non-Justrite, FIRED BUT UNFIRED: [NLA] This 4" tall,
very primitive, early cap lamp is unmarked, but is the Victor brand cap lamp
that was made before Justrite acquired the Victor name and produced a very
different lamp (see next description below). I have a xerox of a Victor box
depicting this lamp, and using the brand name Victor. This particular lamp is
unfired, in that it has never been charged and lit (some white residue inside
the lamp is from Brasso); on the other hand, it has been "fired" in that it
survived a fire. The heat of the fire may be part of the reason that almost
all the thin plating is gone from the tilted reflector. Bottom has a number
of stress cracks on all sides, none gaping open. Maybe these cracks resulted
from the heat of the fire, or maybe just from the combination of age and the
very thin gauge brass used. The lamp comes with a spare bottom with screw-cap;
this bottom is also plagued with numerous cracks. The most serious flaw is
that the screw-in water door has been lost. But at least one the two pictured
in Poh's big book on pg. 455 seems to be in the same state; maybe the water
doors weren't chained and got lost commonly? This is a very scarce brand name
that won't be offered to you very often!
VICTOR CAP LAMP, left side.
VICTOR CAP LAMP, right side.
VJ-1: VICTOR CAP LAMP by JUSTRITE: [NLA] Brass Victor cap lamp manufactured
by the Justrite Mfg. Co. Lamp is 3 1/2" tall, with 2 1/2" unplated brass
reflector that is creased around the reflector brace a bit, probably the result
of the lamp being struck against the mine back. The side mounting braces are
of the flat type, rather than the round wire type. Water control is Justrite's
patented "Polygon Feed" type. Flaws: main mounting hook has been sloppily
re-soldered; water door is mashed; some minor dings. But lamp is complete,
including the original knurled nut holding the reflector on; a pretty nice
example of the marque.
LAMP, side view.
LAMP, top view.
WF-1: WOLF CAP LAMP: [NLA] A Wolf Safety Lamp Co. of America product, this
is a later (mid-twenties) "dome-top" version of Wolf's Model 911C cap lamp.
Lamp is 3 1/2" tall, sports a 2 5/8" diameter, unplated brass reflector secured
by two small screws to the reflector brace (screws in this example are
replacements). One interesting feature is that the top is stamped "Wolf Cap
Lamp"; this is the only carbide lamp I know of labeled to tell is it is a cap
lamp not a hand lamp-- as if we hadn't eyes! Flaws: carbide base has a number
of stress cracks; side mounting clips are broken off; lighter unit looks like a
WOLF CAP LAMP,
WOLF CAP LAMP,
XR-1: X-RAY CAP LAMP, PRE-JUSTRITE TYPE, UNFIRED, with ORIGINAL BOX: [NLA]
This beautiful lamp is identical to the Fulton cap lamp, except for the bottom
stamping, which says "X-Ray". Lamp is 3 1/2" tall, has a 2 1/2" unplated brass
reflector tilted slightly downwards, secured to the complicated reflector brace
by a round knurled nut, through which protrudes the vented unjacketed lava
burner tip. This lamp is in BEAUTIFUL condition: not a ding on it, and it
retains most of its original finish brightly (lamp has NOT been polished!).
The box, on the other hand, though complete, has suffered some damage, as can
be seen in the photos. For more information, see Pohs' big book, pages 440,
452, 455 & 456.
X-RAY CAP LAMP,
UNFIRED, right side.
X-RAY CAP LAMP,
UNFIRED, left side.
X-RAY CAP LAMP,
UNFIRED, inside view.
AA-1: ZAR CAP LAMP, UNFIRED: [NLA] For novelty of appearance, only the
Ever-Ready equals this lamp, in my opinion. In fact I think it should have
been named the "BI-ZAR" it's so weird looking. Just under 4" tall to the top
of the water control ("control" is a gross exaggeration for this simple wire),
with a 2" diameter screw-on reflector that was only very thinly plated-- 50% of
the plating is gone from age. Novel features include: metal burner tip shaped
like a cap that press-fits onto the gas tube; five vent-holes in the reflector
(what purpose did they serve?); water door that is a hollow cap that presses
down over a raised lip; single mounting hook with no side braces for
stability. This lamp is complete, original, and completely original. It is
close to perfect; one tiny tiny ding in the base, and one on the crown of
the water tank. Several Zars are pictured in Pohs big book on pg. 407; there
are two styles of markings: one with the name ZAR in incuse letters, the other
with the name ZAR on a cute little brass plaque attached to the top of the
water tank. This lamp is of the second type.
Lamp history: Same as the unfired Baldwin and Grier cap lamps described above:
originally bought for use at Cudjo's Cave, Cumberland Gap, Va.
ZAR CAP LAMP,
ZAR CAP LAMP,
ZAR CAP LAMP,
ready for charging, but don't you dare!
IN MEMORY OF HENRY: Henry, you were the finest of the lamp collectors. You
were always generous with your immense knowledge of our special interest. You
were true to your passion right to the end, never thinking of quitting, but
always searching for that missing brand name or new variety. You were my
friend for thirty three and a half years. I thank you. You will be remembered