Conductor's Lantern Catalogs

Conductor's lanterns are of particular interest to railroad lantern collectors because of their unique style and high level of craftsmanship (See conductor's lanterns and an extra fancy example of one). These same qualities were touted by manufacturers in their catalogs. For example, an 1893 catalog from the Adams & Westlake Company described their line as follows...

"Our fancy lanterns, for Conductors and private use, are too well known to require any special description. They are made of heavy Brass, and we pay particular attention to plating in Gold, Silver, and Nickel, furnishing heavier plates than are generally used.

We make a specialty of fine presentation lanterns, and can furnish them as elaborate as may be desired, and to cost almost any amount.

Engraving on both Glass and Metal, Names, Monograms, Wreaths and Figures of all kinds."

In today's collectors' market, these qualities translate into substantial values. A nice conductor's lantern with a two-color globe can easily go for over a thousand. Two-color globes alone often exceed $500.

Shown below are conductor's lantern pages from catalogs of the Adams & Westlake and MM Buck Companies. Click on each thumbnail image for a larger version. Note the prices shown in the Adams & Westlake catalog for two-color globes. Most collectors would be shocked to see that green-over-clear and blue-over-clear globes were $1.75 each, and red-over-clear globes were $2.25 each! Of course these are in 1893 dollars. Converted to current dollars, these amounts would be approximately $36.60 and $47, respectively. Similarly, a silver-plated conductor's lantern that cost $10.50 in 1893 would cost $219.75 today. Feel better?

Adams & Westlake, 1893 MM Buck, 1887 MM Buck, 1900

Special thanks to Bill Kajdzik for providing these images.