N&W lanterns

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Feb 26 11:09:36 EST 2007

Hi Ed,
I thought that I would fill in the blanks to some of your questions.
The oldest lantern doesn't have a 1/4 inch hole in the bottom because it's
the oldest design. The newer one has a 1/4 inch hole for water drainage.
These lanterns were used outside in all weather conditions. The older ones
would rust out the bottom base when rain water sat in it for extended
periods. I don't remember when the holes started being drilled out at the
factory. Now if the hole is larger than 1/4 inch and you can tell that's it
has been drilled out with no galvanized tinning around the edges of the hole
then it may either have been drilled out by a railroad employee to let the
water out or it could have been electrified at one time. This will more
than likely lower the value of the lantern. Many railroadiana dealers still
sell new replacement parts for Adlake lanterns. To my knowledge Adlake is
still in business. Ebay is a great source for replacement parts as well as
dealers listed in Trains magazine etc. and railroadiana shows. It sounds
like the lanterns are indead authentic. The value of short globe N&W
lanterns hasn't reached the point where it's worth counterfeiting them at
this time. I don't know when cast N&W globes stopped being made. Frank is
correct about the ease of making ectched globes. You can usually tell a
fake but not always. I have some lanterns with etched globes that I'm 99%
sure are original. To my knowledge Corning doesn't make new globes but Kopp
does. They have for years. They have a small 1/4 inch "K" with a circle
around it near the top of the globe. The Kopp globes have been made since
the days of the old kero lanterns. The most important thing is to buy from
true collector's or honest dealers. If you ask the seller if it's an
original and he or she comes back with "What difference does it make?" then
you need to move on. I had a dealer answer my same question that way at a
train show. I never purchased anything from him again. In some cases it
doesn't make any dfiference to me if it's an original 50 yr. old globe or a
new globe made by an original globe maker as long as I'm paying the 2007
market value. A new Kopp globe that doesn't have a railroad name on it ,
and it wouldn't, will sell for $10.00 to $18.00 depending on the color. If
someone tells you that an unmarked, no RR name, Kopp globe is 50 yrs. old
and is worth $50.00 then that would concern me. I believe that the
railroadiana site about fakes on the net that you referred to has a listing
of good RR lantern resource books. Some will teach you how to restore the
lanterns and others will give you a general history about them.
As far as cleaning a lantern. Never use a wire brush!!! Use 0000 steal
wool and WD40. This is the safest way. Don't remove anymore "tinning" off
of the lantern than needed. If the lantern is painted then you can soak it
in a well ventilated area in brake fluid or a non corrosive paint remover to
remove the paint before using the 0000 steel wool. Coat the lantern with a
light coat of WD40 to prevent rust from coming back after you have cleaned
it. As far as removing dents that's a little tricky. The inside globe
retainer in the top may be able to be "unscrewed" in many brands by pushing
down on the globe retainer and twisting it. The smooth round end of a
wooden broom handle works well to remove larger dents. Just push on the
inside of the dome with the rounded end of the wooden handle. The larger
dents will usually "pop" out. Don't use a hammer or anything sharp to try
to get the dents out. Just leave the small ones alone. The same rounded
piece of wood can be used to "pop" out the larger dents in the bottom of a
lantern after you take the pot/burner out. The rounded end of the wooden
handle must be very smooth. You don't want any dents in the rounded end of
the wooden handle.
I hope that this helps you. Collecting lanterns and other railroad
artifacts is a fun and rewarding hobby. Enjoy yourself!
Take care,

From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>

>Reply-To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>

>To: Frank Scheer <f_scheer at yahoo.com>

>CC: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org

>Subject: Re: N&W lanterns

>Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2007 18:21:18 -0800 (PST)


>Now you've sparked a few more questions and I hope you don't mind my

>bothering you again. When was the "Kero era"? One is stamped 4-41 and the

>other is stamped 3-56, and from what I gather, this means 4th and 3rd

>quarter of 1941 and 1956, respectively. Did N&W have marked globes during

>this time? If not, when did N&W stop purchasing marked globes?


> Thank you for your help,


> Ed


>Frank Scheer <f_scheer at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2007 17:21:20 -0800 (PST)

>From: "Edward Cake"

>Subject: Re: N&W lanterns

>To: "NW Mailing List"

>CC: f_scheer at yahoo.com


>Hi Frank:


>Thank you for your comments -- as you mentioned, all

>lettering is raised as viewed from the outside. One

>globe is a plain clear glass globe with a vertical

>seam on each side and the other is a plain red fresnel

>globe made by Corning, but I want to replace these

>with cast N&W globes of any color. Is there any way

>to tell if a cast globe is authentic? Here's one of

>the websites I looked at:




>Also, is it worth it to try and remove the dings from

>the lids and clean off any rust, or is it better to

>leave them as they are?


>Thank you,


>Ed Cake



>February 25, 2007


>Hello, Ed:


>Few people go to the expense to create reproduction

>cast short-globes for major railroads. If they did,

>it would be for unusual colors such as yellow, or

>green-clear. In many cases, railroads didn't have

>marked globes during the Adlake Kero era anyway.


>The lanterns are yours and so its your decision

>whether to attempt a restoration. My personal

>preference is to leave artifacts as they are. I do

>recommend that you rub the lantern body with a thin

>glaze of petroleum jelly so that the surface doesn't



>Good luck and thanks for the website referral.



>Best wishes,




>Dr. Frank R. Scheer, Curator

>Railway Mail Service Library, Inc.

>f_scheer at yahoo.com

>(202) 268-2121 - weekday office

>(540) 837-9090 - Saturday afternoon

>in the former N&W station on VA rte 723

>117 East Main Street

>Boyce VA 22620-9639


>Visit at http://www.railwaymailservicelibrary.org


>Also, if you have an interest in RPOs, please visit the RailwayPO group at






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