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 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. Other recent carbide lamp additions include two hard-to-find carbide cap lamps. The first is a Pickands Mather Company safety award carbide cap lamp manufactured by Justrite. The Pickands Mather safety awards story is an interesting one that reflects on the iron mining companies of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and their pattern of paternalism to keep their employees happy and stem the influence of disruptive labor unions during the early 1900s. An increased emphasis on miner safety was a key aspect of this “keep the unions out” approach and the reason behind the safety first awards. Check out the Pickands Mather Safety Awards pics and the related story in my Miscellaneous Mining Items section. The second addition is a special-edition Justrite XRay lamp with the Hardsocg Imperial marked base. Justrite Mfg. Co. sold two special-edition cap lamps based on the XRay design to other companies complete with each company’s own private-label stamping. Both are hard to find. One of these, already shown in my cap lamp pics, is marked on the base for the Emmons-Hawkins Hardware Co. of Huntington, WV and the Fulton Tool Works. The new addition is the much harder to find lamp with the Hardsocg Imperial marking on the base. Both come from the 1919 timeframe. I’ve also added three 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 Goldfield NV, the Anaconda Mine of Butte MT and the C & C Shaft at Virginia City MT that led to the discovery of the Big Bonanza of the Comstock Lode. I hope you enjoy the site and find it as interesting as I do in putting it together.

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