N&W lanterns

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Feb 26 11:56:17 EST 2007

Mr. Calce: The two Adlake Kero lanterns are common types used by the N&W
from about 1925 to about 1953-1955 when battery lanterns became affordable
and available.

The numbers on the bottom of the lantern are patent numbers and dates.
Yours are from the forties and fifties as you note. These lanterns are
still produced for collectors- see the Schrader catalog for the lantern

ADLAKE 400 burners are standard for these vintage lanterns.

In the late 1940's ADLAKE added a drain hole to the bottom of the pot holder
to drain away spilled kerosene when the user filled the pot without taking
the pot out of the frame. The hole should be about 3/16" in diameter.
Sometimes this hole has been enlarged and its edges should be slightly
ragged due to the difficulty in using a twist drill on the thin metal.
Sometimes the user/owner would add a drain hole to older lanterns without

In a very simplified description, the very earliest lanterns for railroads
used candles, then whale oil for light. These were usually made by the tin
shop of each early railroad for their own use. As railroads merged into
large organizations, companies were formed to make tin ware/ sheet metal
products in volume for the large railroads. This was about 1870-1880
more-or-less. These lanterns had numerous brass components for the
more-hard-to-form shapes. Many had an up-side-down saucer for the base
nick-named bell bottom lanterns. Bell bottoms more-or-less go out of
production 1890-1910-ish. Globes would be about 5 3/8" high (tall globes)
and there are variations of this form.

Lantern makers could be Adams-and Westlake, Armspear, Steam Gauge, Dietz,
Handlan, Stewart Keystone and others.

To reduce product cost, they devised the short globe lantern and started
producing those in the early 1920's.

Gary Rolih



From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 6:41 PM
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Subject: N&W lanterns

Hello all,

I recently bought a pair of Adlake N&W lanterns at a train show, and I'm
trying to learn some more about them. I'm also aware that forged or replica
railroad lanterns are often passed off as "authentic", and I'm also trying
to determine if these are indeed genuine. I've looked at a couple of
lantern websites for tips on identifying fake Adlakes but from what I've
gathered, there was too much variation in production, and sometimes
production was subbed out for large orders for there to be any clear-cut way
to determine if a lantern is a fake. I've also read that some roads
repaired damaged lanterns rather than throw them away, so it's possible that
parts could have been interchanged.

The red lantern is stamped on top with N&W RY. in 5/16" curved letters on
the back of the lid near the hinge, and THE ADAMS & WESTLAKE CO. stamped on
the front of the lid near the latch in 3/16" curved letters. The latch on
the top appears to be spring wire that catches under the frame. On the
bottom is stamped ADLAKE-KERO 4-41 (4th quarter, 1941 I assume) and PATS.
PENDING, both of which are curved around the edge. In the middle of the
bottom is stamped in straight letters:







I assume these are patent numbers.

The clear lantern is identical in frame and lid except for the latch, which
is a 3/8" flat steel tab that hooks over the top of the frame. The lid brim
is stamped N&W RY. in 3/8" curved letters, but it's to the side of the
hinge. On the very top of the vent "chimney" (the cylindrical part with all
the vent holes at the top), the lid is stamped ADLAKE in curved letters at
the back and KERO in curved letters at the front, all in 1/4" letters. On
the bottom is stamped ADLAKE-KERO 3-56 (3rd quarter, 1956 I assume) and
PATENTED, both of which are curved around the edge. In the middle of the
bottom is stamped in straight letters:



Besides the stamping, the only difference in the bottom between the two is
that there is a 1/4" hole dead center in the bottom of the clear lantern,
and I'm wondering if someone might have tried to electrify the lamp at some

In addition to similar body styles, they both have the same kerosene pot
stamped ADLAKE 300 on one side of the wick holder, and the wick and cotton
are still inside the pots.

Both appear to be in very good overall condition with very little rust and
very few dents or dings. The red lantern has a very small ding on the top
of the "chimney", and both have a few very small dings around the edge of
the globe seat.

I've done my best to describe their appearance and condition, but if anyone
needs any more details please let me know and I'll tell you as much as I
can. I hope that these lanterns are indeed authentic N&W lanterns, and I
hope that someone on the N&W mailing list is able to provide some more on
the history of these lanterns.

Thank you,

Ed Cake


Everyone is raving about the
ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://six.pairlist.net/pipermail/nw-mailing-list/attachments/20070226/ee13af6c/attachment.htm

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list