Monday, December 9, 2013

Electric lanterns & portable lamps

Back in the 1950's and for a while afterwards, flashlights using big dry cell batteries were the tool to have:

Mr. Fix-It's Complete Book on How to Make Your Own Electrical Repairs.  
By Six Leading Authorities.  NY:  Greystone Press, 1953.
Delta Electric Co., Marion, Ind.
Popular Mechanics, February 1951
I've collected a few over the years.  Below, a very useful lamp made by the Star Headlight & Lantern Company of Honeoye Falls, New York.  Founded in 1899, it's still a going concern under family ownership!

A few others:

On the right, an Everready No. 101 "Big Jim."  Back in the day, something to show your girlfriend after dark.

In the middle, a "Commando" with a long fabric strap that is pleated to fold under the leather cover.  A fun lamp to show off at Norton rallies!

On the left, a "famous" Burgess "Radar Lite" made in Freeport, Illinois.  

Continue-Flo Products.  Burlington, Ontario.  1961 Catalogue.

The Burgess Battery Company was founded in Madison, Wisconsin in 1917 by Dr. Charles Burgess, a professor at the University of Wisconsin.  
Burgess was a prolific inventor who, among many other accomplishments, developed what were to become the A, B, C and D-cell batteries.  He moved battery production to Freeport, Illinois in 1925, after purchasing a large plant from the recently defunct Moline Plow Company.  At one time, the company was among the largest producers of dry-cell batteries in the world. 

They hit financial difficulties beginning in the 1970's with a large anti-monopoly law suit, and went under in 1989 after being bought out by an out-of-state holding company that eventually succumbed to its high debt load.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Burgess created the “C” and “D” size batteries in common use today. The diameters of these batteries are not random; while developing them he used, as forms for the battery cases, a wooden rake handle and a wooden shovel handle, respectively.

Mister G said...

Did not know that!