"Casey" Tall-Globe Lanterns

The "Casey" was a popular tall-globe lantern model produced by the Keystone Lantern Company. According to Hobson, the company existed from 1903 until around 1930. Perhaps the most unique characteristic of the "Casey" was the wick-adjusting mechanism which was operated with a horizontal knob located beneath the fount. Turning the knob one way or the other raised or lowered the wick. The knob was two inches in diameter and had ridges so that a railroad employee could easily grip the mechanism even with gloves on. A fairly large number of railroads purchased "Casey's" as documented in our lantern surveys.

The most common "Casey" is one with a round wire base -- the circular ring at the base of the lantern. However, some bellbottom models were also made. Examples of both are shown below. Also shown are close-ups of the top, base, fount assembly, and burner assemby of a bellbottom model. According to Hobson, the "Casey" was manufactured from 1916 to 1921, although this seems like a rather small time interval given the sizeable number of railroads that bought them.

The original version of this web page stated that "Casey's" used a "Corning style" tall globe, since this lantern model was made after the advent of the "globe seat -- around 1902. However, a collector emailed us with pictures of a globe embossed "Casey" with an extended base, and inspection of a number of "Casey's" show that most (if not all) lack the "globe seat" used in lantern frames made for Corning-style globes. So it seems that "Casey's" were made for extended base globes, although many seemed to have been used with Corning-style globes in service. A picture of the "Casey" globe embossing and its bellbottom frame are shown below.

Why Keystone Lantern Company ceased production of the "Casey" is unknown, since they did seem to be popular among the railroads. One possibility is that this model was introduced too late in the evolution of railroad lanterns just as the "tall globe" lantern era was coming to a close. Around the First World War, Adams & Westlake introduced the short globe lantern, and this style quickly eclipsed the tall-globe style. There is a possibility that at least one short globe "Casey" was made by the manufacturer -- possibly as a sample -- although some collectors are dubious about its authenticity. Pictures of this model can be seen on our lantern oddities page.

In today's railroadiana market, "Casey" lanterns are very popular among collectors. Their construction was especially rugged and sturdy so that many have survived in excellent condition.

Above Left: A wire-bottom "Casey" marked "PRR" for the Pennsylvania Railroad, with a red cast globe. Above Center: A rare bellbottom "Casey" also marked "PRR" for the Pennsylvania Railroad, with a red cast globe. Above Right: Another bellbottom "Casey", unmarked for a railroad, with an unmarked green globe. Click on any image for a larger version.
Above from Left to Right: The bellbottom assembly, base, burner assembly and top of the unmarked "Casey" shown above. Click on any image for a larger version.
Left: Another unmarked bellbottom "Casey" and a closeup of its globe which is embossed "Casey". This globe has an extended base. Click on any image for a larger version.

Our thanks to Tom Stranko and Wilbur Epperly for photos on this page.