and Reproduction RR Lanterns: New Production
Attempts to completely fabricate railroad lantern frames from scratch
have been relatively rare but seem to be increasing. Most of these appear
to be made overseas and imported into this country as "new antiques".
For the most part, the quality and appearance of these imports are obvious
clues as to their origin. However, someone who is unfamiliar with genuine
railroad lantern styles and appearances may be fooled. Worse, the possibility
for further "weathering" and alterations is reason to be wary.
The following information on newly produced lanterns has been obtained
from various sources judged to be knowledgeable and accurate. The information
is presented with "honest intentions"; however we cannot guarantee
complete accuracy, so please use this information as advisory only --
see disclaimer. Also, see information
on lantern frame alterations and
a page on the W.T. Kirkman lantern website covering various
lantern at right is a fabrication of a early New England fixed
globe lantern. It was found in an antique store with a price
that suggested it was clearly being sold as a reproduction. In fact
it even has a "Made in India" sticker on the bottom! In
addition to the sticker, other telltale clues are the fresh plaster
used to cement the globe into the frame (see image below) and the
somewhat shoddy construction. In addition, the frame has no fount
or burner. While this kind of reproduction may be relatively harmless,
there is a danger that alterations could be made to make it appear
brass "barn lantern" style lantern marked "Pennsylvania
Railroad" has been produced overseas relatively recently and
imported into the USA. There was a legitimate "barn style" lantern
used by the PRR, but the counterfeit version has "Pennsylvania
Railroad"spelled out on the base rather than the keystone logo,
which is reported
to be on the legitimate version. Also, examples usually look new
(although they could be "weathered" with a chemical treatment).
The example shown here has an attractive aqua globe, although we
do not know if all examples come with such a globe.
lantern at right is a modern reproduction. Numbers of these came
from Taiwan and were sold for about $25.00 each in boxes of four
during the late 1970's or early 1980's. Most came with cheap clear
globes with an indentation for the wick raiser to pass through. They
were even advertised in "Antique Trader," a weekly newspaper
in the antique business. The frames are fabricated in the style of
an Adams & Westlake "Reliable" model
but there are absolutely no markings whatsoever on them.
lantern at right has a tag that identfies it as the "New Vigilant
Railroad Lamp" made by the Scott Lamp Co. of San Francisco,
California. It is a fake, possibly one of the plague of recent brass
railroadiana imports.There are also fake lanterns similar to this
with a tag that reads "Pullman Silver Palace Car Company".
There never was a company with this exact name although there was
a Wagner Silver Palace Car Company.
brass tubular lantern with a tag reading "Central Union & Pacific
RR Property" has surfaced. There was no such railroad. These
lanterns are probably recent imports.
different category of non-authentic, new lanterns is the commemorative
lantern produced for souvenir or hobbyist purposes. These are usually
not intended to be deceptive, but there have been instances of collectors
being fooled by them. For example there are Handlan short-globe lanterns
marked "DURANGO R G S R" and "SILVERTON R G S R" that
were never produced for or used by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad.
According to Sue and Bill Knous, these were sold by a shop in Durango
in the 70's as souvenirs but have subsequently been purchased by
unknowledgeable collectors for as much as $300. There are also short
globe lanterns marked "G.C. & S.J. R.R." that were
ordered and sold as souvenir items by the Colorado Railroad Museum
for their museum railroad -- the Golden Circle & San Juan Railroad.
To date, a substantial number of similar lantern markings have been
documented, the vast majority of them produced by the Adams & Westlake
or "Adlake" Company. These are discussed and listed on
a separate web page: A&W
Thanks to Tom Stranko, Rich Hendricks, Bill Kajdzik, Samuel Stott, Doug
McIntyre, Bill and Sue Knous, and others.