Over the past several months leading up to and during the pandemic, I’ve added a few new and interesting hard-to-find items to my online museum. The most recent item is a very rare patented oilwick lamp with a unique feature that looks like a cage around the lamp’s spout. Patented by William Murray Harrison on Mar. 5, 1895, the lamp was a questionable attempt to control the amount of smoke given off by the flame. Another recent item is a Justrite Jiffy carbide cap lamp variety known in the collecting community as the Platypus. This rare lamp includes the Spiral water feed, an inverted-cone flared end on the water tube and the Jiffy carbide container. One of only five known in collections, it follows exactly the patent awarded to A. L. Hansen on May 1, 1917 as letters patent 1,224,537. Another addition is a hard-to-find Springfield carbide cap lamp equipped with the Meyer Stein patented adjustable water feed that was donated to the museum by my good Alaska friend Neil Tysver. An unusual Guy’s Dropper Squarelite carbide trip lamp with the rear bracket was also added along with two hard-to-find oilwick lamps. These include the slant-back wick lamp patented by Peter and Adam Good of Wilkes-Barre, PA and a small-size surveyor style wick lamp patented by D. D. Williams. The 1882 Williams patent was the only one awarded for these popular surveyor style lamps. Another 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. Other recent additions are three coal and iron police badges for the Susquehanna Coal Company, the U. S. Aluminum Company, and the Hilldale Coal and Coke Company. These companies’ private police forces were part of the industrial police known as Coal & Iron Police which were legal in Pennsylvania from 1865 to 1931. The badges represent an interesting but sad period of mining history in Pennsylvania. Other 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. I’ve also added eight 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 the Mizpah Mine at Tonopah NV, the Smuggler Mine at Aspen, CO, the Argonaut Mine at Jackson, CA, the mines at Fernie, BC, the Daly West Mine and Mill at Park City, UT, the Tomboy Mine and Mill at Telluride, CO, the Yellow Aster Mine and Mill at Randsburg, CA and the Lillian Mine at Leadville, CO. I hope you enjoy the site and find it as interesting as I do in putting it together.
The next mining shows are scheduled for: TBD
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.
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.