Lovell-Dressel Lanterns

The Lovell-Dressel Company reflected the heritage of two companies. One company was founded by F.H. Lovell around the time of the Civil War and came to be known primarily as a maker of marine lamps. The other company was founded by George Dressel in the 1880's and focused primarily on the railroad lamp market. Eventually the latter company became known as the Dressel Railway Lamp Works. The F.H. Lovell Company acquired the Dressel Railway Lamp Works in the 1920's but continued to use the Dressel name in marketing. Eventually the name was changed to the Lovell-Dressel Company, and in the late 1960's the company was absorbed into the Adams & Westlake Company.

Throughout its history, Lovell-Dressel and its predecessor companies appeared to be more active in the lamp market than the lantern market. In fact they eventually became a one of the dominant suppliers of railroad lamps. However, they did produce or market a small number of railroad lantern models, either manufactured by other companies or by their own facilities. For example, a page from the F.H. Lovell 1916 catalog shows lanterns that were obviously made by the R.E. Dietz Company, although not identified as such. Compare the illustrations shown with Dietz tall globe lanterns and Dietz Vesta lanterns. Dressel did appear to make some of their own lanterns -- a model shown below appears to be a unique design. However, other lanterns marked "Dressel Railway Lamp Works" were clearly made under subcontract by the C.T. Ham Company, as shown below. In the short-globe lantern era, the Lovell-Dressel Company did manufacture a single lantern model of unique design, the "Heavy Duty" model. Example of this model can be found marked with the Penn Central logo, which may have been the "last hurrah" of the company before merger with Adams & Westlake.

Above Right: A tall-globe lantern marked "P.& L.E.R.R." for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad with a red-etched globe. The top of the smoke dome is stamped "The Dressel Railway Lamp Works N.Y." [See image at right]. Note the single-wire verticals. The fuel fount has an 1898 patent date. Above Center: A tall-globe lantern marked "P.& L.E.R.R." for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad with a clear-etched globe. The top of the smoke dome is also stamped "Dressel Railway Lamp Works," but note the double-wire verticals, an exclusive design feature of the C.T. Ham Company. The fuel fount also has an 1898 patent date. Above Right: For comparison, a tall-globe lantern marked "Erie R.R." with a clear-etched globe. The top of the smoke dome is stamped "No. 39" and "Railroad", the markings frequently used by C.T. Ham. The middle and rightmost lanterns are virtually identical. Clearly all of these lanterns were made by the C.T. Ham Company even though the first two are marked "Dressel Railway Lamp Works".
Above Left: A Dressel tall globe lantern marked "D.L.&.W. R.R." (Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad) with a red unmarked globe and insert fount. This was a unique design unlike any other manufacturer's railroad lantern, so it may be assumed that Dressel either actually manufactured this model or had it made under subcontract using their own design. Above Right: Dressel "Heavy Duty" short-globe lantern marked "P.& L.E. R.R." (Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad) with an unmarked clear globe. Many (if not all) examples of this model have a patent number of 2157081 on the bottom which corresponds to a period of 1939-1940; however, this same design was made into the late 1960's.

Notes: Information sources areBarrett and Hobson. Special thanks to those who contributed photos and/or information.