New Additions

Over the past several months, I’ve added a few new and interesting hard-to-find items to my online museum. The most recent item is an extremely rare multi-compartment carbide flask manufactured by the Maple City Mfg. Co. of Monmouth IL around 1912. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in oilwick lamp to aid in the refueling of a carbide lamp underground. Advertised as the Maple City Emergency Lamp and Flask, the unusual half-moon shaped fuel carrier is one of four known examples in collections. Another recent addition is a coal and iron police badge for the Susquehanna Coal Company’s private police force, part of the industrial police known as Coal & Iron Police which were legal in Pennsylvania from 1865 to 1931. The badge represents an interesting but sad period of mining history in Pennsylvania. Other recent additions include two very rare oilwick lamps, an unusual patented oilwick miner’s flask and a miniature fancy candlestick. The first oilwick is one of the most desirable marked lamps, an unfired all brass version with The Boss stamped on the font. Thought to be a presentation lamp, the attractive marking includes a crossed shovel and pick inside a three-leaf clover. The second oilwick is a mule lamp manufactured by Trethaway and marked diagonally across the font in large embossed letters L. C. & N. Co. for the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. The company owned and operated an extensive system of coalmines in Pennsylvania’s Carbon and Schuylkill Counties, two canals, and several railroads and railways. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company is credited with shaping the course of the American industrial revolution in Pennsylvania, as it contributed to innovation in transportation, manufacturing, and use of natural resources. This lamp is the only known example. The unique miner’s oilwick flask was patented by John Zweig of Bellaire, Ohio as No. 518,203 and awarded on April 10, 1894. The flask/canister has three compartments for an oilwick lamp, matches and wick and includes a capped oil flask. The very small size of the wick lamp that was required to fit in the canister undoubtedly limited its market acceptance. The miniature fancy candlestick is a piece of art made by the Diamond Tunnel blacksmith in Silver Plume Colorado around 1900. We refer to them as blacksmiths, but their craftsmanship is just amazing. Other additions include a rare carbide cap lamp, a couple hard-to-find miner’s carbide carriers, three interesting oilwick lamps, another vest pocket Davy safety lamp and an unusual carbide flask. The newly added all-brass carbide cap lamp has been loosely referred to as a Nathan by some collectors based on similarities to a rare hand lamp although Dave Thorpe’s excellent book on carbide lamps acknowledges its manufacturer as unknown. The recent discovery of a pictured newspaper ad in the Sept. 28, 1910 edition of The Scranton Truth positively identified the lamp as made by Thomas F. Leonard, a well-known maker of oilwick lamps. Two examples of the lamp are known but the only complete example is shown in my cap lamp pics. Multi-compartment carbide carriers are popular with collectors and difficult to find in nice condition. These carriers usually have three compartments, one for extra carbide, one for matches and another for water and have a belt attachment for the miner to carry underground. Two carriers were added, one brass with a maker’s mark of Grier Bros. Pittsburg PA and the other an unused tin variety with a Hardsocg Mfg. Co. Ottumwa IA mark. Both are included in my Other Carbide Items section. At least ten different wick raiser patents for miners oilwick lamps have been awarded by the US Patent Office and all are either difficult to find or are unknown as examples in collections. One new oilwick addition is the Ferdinand Koch 1905 patented wick raiser lamp manufactured by William Tunnessen of Hazleton, PA. It is believed that two examples of this rare lamp are known. A second unused oilwick was added with a private label on the bottom that features the trade marked Cruso rooster of the Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett Co. of Chicago, a major hardware supplier at the turn of the century. These lamps were marked Crown and included a number of different private labels as noted in my Oilwick Lamps section. The Cruso marking is by far the most difficult of these private label Crown lamps to obtain. The third oilwick is an unmarked aluminum lamp that is known as the Indestructible as advertised in 1895 by its maker, the American Safety Lamp and Mine Supply of Scranton PA. This extremely rare lamp is the first model of the lamp that includes a brass screw-top lid unlike later models with a hinged aluminum lid. Vest pocket safety lamps are also very popular with collectors and also very hard to obtain. Examples of Hughes Bros. Davy and Clanny vest pocket lamps are already featured in my Safety Lamps section. The newly added vest pocket Davy is unmarked but thought to be made by the American Safety Lamp and Mine Supply Co. Another unusual addition is the Toplis Carbide Flask, a unique design that measures out a proper carbide charge by a rotating cylinder top on the flask. Made by a short-lived small company in Knoxville TN, it appears the flasks were only made in 1924. I’ve also added six sterling silver souvenir spoons to that section of pics so as to continue the introduction of historically interesting mining locations. These newly added spoons feature Wilkes-Barre PA, the Bi-Metallic Mill at Philipsburg MT, the Empire Mine at Grass Valley CA, Prescott and nearby Jerome AZ, the Granby Smelter at Grand Forks BC and the Mizpah Mine at Tonopah NV. I hope you enjoy the site and find it as interesting as I do in putting it together.

Catalogs Update

The newest additions are two original mining supply catalogues. The first is an early 1910 edition of the Queen City Supply Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. This 1132 page catalogue includes supplies for railroads, mills, mines, quarries, machinists, lumbermen, foundries and blacksmiths. The Queen City Supply Company was organized in 1890 as the successor to the Post and Company supply departments which had been in existence for more than a quarter of a century. The catalogue offers early versions of Baldwin carbide lamps including wet mine lamps with and without the attachment on top for use with candlesticks. This is the only ad I’ve ever seen for the wet mine Baldwin with the candlestick attachment, an extremely rare lamp. The second catalogue is the General and Electrical Catalogue No. 99 for the venerable Denver firm of Hendrie & Bolthoff Manufacturing and Supply Company. Established in 1861, this company’s No. 99 Catalogue is dated 1924 and presents 1786 pages of machinery and equipment of all kinds including blasting supplies, mining lamps, ore cars, cages, and other mining supplies to name a few. I’ve scanned several pages from each catalogue of mining related items. Have fun checking them out.

Books Update

I collect mining books so I thought I’d share selected image scans of some of my favorite obscure out-of-copyright titles covering mines, miners and their history. I recently acquired a rare first edition of The Black Hills Illustrated edited by George P. Baldwin. Originally published in 1904 by the Black Hills Mining Men’s Association, this large format book provides the most complete coverage of mining in the Black Hills at the turn of the century. Full of 206 pages of photos of mines, mining men, buildings, towns, and other area development, the book includes over 750 original photographs. All the area mining companies and their holdings are listed. An original first edition of the book in the Princeton University Library was scanned by google for the internet. Rather than scan several photos for my web site, I’ve included a link to that scan of the complete book for your enjoyment.