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These next two photos show the bottom cup where you would place the calcium carbinate and the top where you would pour in the water. The knob on the top allows the water drip to be increased or decreased as needed.

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These photos show the burner where the acetylene flame was produced and the light chamber with the reflector at the back. This particular reflector is cracked but still in place.

In the photo you can see that the whole light chamber comes off easily for either cleaning, repair or perhaps for lighting the burner.

When lighting a calcium cabonate lamp the flame, at first, sputters and needs time to "settle down" after which the water drip rate can be adjusted for the amount of light needed. I would suspect that this was done with the light chamber off, then once the flame is under control, replaced. I say this because of the ease at which this section is removed and replaced.

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The last photo of this series on the calcium carbonate lamp shows the mounting clamp. The spring sections probably helped to limit vibrations experienced through the frame of the bicycle from the rough road surface. You will notice that the lamp, when mounted, naturally leans somewhat downwards and I would think this was to better direct the light on the road ahead.

I like to display my specimens and since this style of lamp will not stand upright on its own I made the small stand to better show it off as it would have been mounted on the bicycle.

Regards

Brian

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The Police Lantern as an Icon for British Police

If you were to ask the membership what comes to their minds when asked for iconic symbols of their country’s or local police you might have a wide range of possibilities offered up. Here in Canada one might suggest the dress uniform or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, so reminiscent of the British red uniforms of the Victorian era’s red military uniforms.

Certainly there are many examples of iconic items for the Victorian/Edwardian police of the mid Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century’s as shown in the display below.

Of course for the purposes of this long running article we are looking at the police lantern as one of the iconic symbols. In addition to the recognizable Bobby’s helmet the police lantern was commonly featured in the past. The first example is on an Honour Roll commemorating the members the

Metropolitan Special Constabulary who gave their lives serving their country during the Great War. As may be seen along the left hand border is a collection of equipment used by the Special Constabulary during that period. Among the different items there are two police lanterns.

Another area where the police lantern was used was in advertising. Not advertisements regarding the sale of the lanterns themselves but ads that used the iconic symbols of the police officer and his lantern to help sell the product. In the case below these are used to fortify the high degree of safety and security of the locks being “hawked”.

Popular crime stories and news stories involving police investigations also show not only the policemen but, due to the night-time activities preferred by criminals, the ever present lantern.

I’ll look further into the popular use of images of police lantern in the next post.

Regards

Brian

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Police Lanterns and the Comic Post Card

One of the favourite targets of publications such as Punch, among many others, was the London and Metropolitan Police almost from the first day they were formed. One of these mediums of satire, or humour, is the countless number of post cards that were available to the public at that time. The first example is not as crewel as many and simply uses a double meaning of the statement “I see I’m in time”. Considering the minimal “background” light, compared with what we experience today from electrical street lights and illuminated signs, the low light level of the old lantern was probably as bright as shown in this post card.

Of the humorous post cards that are offered for sale to the collector today I think the ones having a “go” at the Special Constables is the most prolific. However, we’ll stay with the PC and leave the SC topic to its proper section. The two examples below concerns what is probably the most common “adventure” the police runs into, even today. A couple out on their own confronting a police constable; who hasn’t had this happen to them?

Next we’ll take a look at some early battery powered “torches”, or as known on this side of the pond, “flashlights”.

In the mean time, if you have any post cards or illustrations involving the British Police please feel free to post them here. I’ll wait for a couple of weeks before I proceed with the next installment of this post to give you time to post them.

Regards

Brian

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Battery Powered Lanterns

As the rush light gave way to the tallow then wax candle which was replaced by whale oil followed by kerosene or coal oil lamps so the battery powered lamp became the next step in the evolution of portable lights. Batteries have been around since 1800 but these were bulky and used a liquid acid as an electrolyte and therefore were impractical for use in any hand-held light. What was to be called the dry cell battery came into being around 1880 but was still too bulky to be considered for use in a convenient personal-use light. This technology was used for such applications as powering telephones but again was too large and had a very low voltage. Shortly after this, in 1887, a true dry cell battery was invented. The dry cell did not require a liquid acid as electrolyte and therefore was “dry”, and so the name. Below is a selection of dry cell battery lights some marked to a police unit other unmarked. Even though some are unmarked these were the style being used by the police as well as the members of the public at the time.

A more detailed look at individual styles will follow in future posts.

Regards

Brian

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A XIXth century very famous french illustrator, Gustave Doré, has sketched this typical policeman lantern. The sketch is called "the bull's eye" and it appears in a 1872's book : "London, a pilgrimage" ( available at this link :http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k10470488/f15.image.r=.langFR ). The sketch itself appears in those pictures :

while the book's pages can be read at those links :

Edit :

A clearer image can be found here : http://www.cf.ac.uk/encap/skilton/illustr/Dore145.html

And the book can be viewed (partially) on google books :

http://books.google.fr/books?id=AjyC4dv_T9AC&lpg=PA172&hl=en&pg=PA170#v=onepage&q&f=false

Edited by bistrot

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Some very good and interesting detail in this picture. Firstly, the dress is correct, with the truncheon caseon his left

side. Secondly - this has a good view of the first Metropolitan Police helmet, which took over from the Top Hats.

You will see that it has a 'turned-up' brim. There are no examples left - and pictures are fairly rare.

I have copied the link and this is the picture. Mervyn

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2014/post-6209-0-74428000-1398679698.jpgclick

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The next lamp featured to this post is a bit of a mystery to me. The top has a trade mark “HW” and no other indication of its origin. The dimensions are 3 ¾ inches tall, 1½ thick (body only) and 2 5/8 inches wide. The lens is of the fisheye style common with earlier lamps. I have included this light in the police category as it has the carrying handle and a device on the back that could hook over a belt or perhaps even allow the light to be suspended from a button on a tunic.

The light is turned on and off by a switch on the front over the lens. Looking at the inside of the lamp it would appear that the battery was a rectangular shape with one pole connected in the middle front and the other pole connected to complete the circuit in the upper left hand corner (see photo to the left below). In this photo you can see the switch at the top in the “off” position. In the right hand photo you can see the switch in the “on” position.

At times it is difficult to date lamps to specific time periods due to lack of information stamped on the lamp. However in this case I found this exact lamp advertised in a German catalogue dated 1919. By this I would assume these first came available near the end of the First World War. This being included in a German catalogue may indicate that it is German rather than British, however I cannot say either way with any confidence.

When this lamp came into my possession it was in deplorable condition and required significant restoration. I usually leave items that become part of the collection much like they were found but in this case restoration was a necessity.

Regards

Brian

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The Wootton Lantern

Featured here is the Wootton Lantern made by Smiths and Son (Cricklewood) and were used from the 1920s to the 1940s.

The lamp itself was designed by George Arthur Henry Wootton who was the Assistant (Chief) Engineer of the Metropolitan Police in the 1920s. The patent carries the date of 23rd November, 1922. As may be seen in the photo below there is a compartment in the front under the lens which holds a spare bulb, which is broken in this case.

The two lamps shown below have different plates on the front; one with the manufacturer’s name and the other with a note about the need for periodical cleaning. The photo also shows the on/off switch on the lamp’s top. This lamp was powered by an accumulator (battery) of 2 volts and the lens was able to be focused by turning the metal ring around the lens.

The lamp to the right of the photo above is also marked with the number “3” on the front and was used by the military as is indicated by the broad arrow mark on the bottom as show in the photo below. The lamps were used mainly by police and fire department but as show by this example also by the military.

The manufacturer of these lamps, Smith’s and Son was situated in Cricklewood, an area in north-west London which is five miles (8.2 km) from Charing Cross. Cricklewood was the home of Smith’s Industries which was started in 1915 as S. Smith & Sons, on the Edgeware Road. Originally they manufactured fuses, instruments and accessories including the Wootton Lantern. By 1939 they were producing electrical motors, aircraft accessories and electric clocks.

What is significant about this lantern to my collection is that it is one of two lanterns that were designed by police officers. The first one, featured earlier in this series, was an oil lamp designed by Philip Bicknell, chief constable of Lincolnshire, 1856-1902.

Regards

Brian

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Brian - two nice examples. The German one must have been for trench use. The British Wootton was the lamp that gradually took over from the old oil lamps. This didn't happen in one go - Chief Constable's had to manage their own budgets - and were

reluctant to spend money on something new. Mervyn

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The Traffic Guardian Hand Lamp

The Traffic Guardian Hand Lamp was made by Forster Equipment Co. Ltd. of Whetstone; Whetstone is a village and civil parish in the Blaby district of Leicestershire, England. All three lamps featured here were battery powered.

The lamp is six inches tall and 1¼ inches thick. These lamps would date to pre 1927 when they were replaced by a cylindrical model. I have read where these were still being used for rummage duties in the late 1960s and early 1970’s.

While the three lamps in my collection would appear to be the same there are some differences. The lamp with the brass City of Sheffield Police (numbered 1605) plate has a convex lens, the lamp from the Nottingham City Police (numbered 42) has a flat lens. Please note the “Tam 1” scratched below the police identification tag which I would assume was some designation by the Nottingham Police (numbered 42). The third lamp from the Bucks Constabulary (numbered 1603) has a convex lens, however, this lamp has two sliding coloured lens, one red and the other green. I am going to stick my neck out and assume that this one was the only true Traffic Guardian Hand Lamp of the three as the red and the green lens would indicate traffic use.

There is a button on the top to turn the lamps on and off. These three also have the familiar double handle and belt clip on the back indicative of police lamps.

Regards

Brian

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WW II era ARP Lamp

Up until now I have attempted to feature the lamps from the collection in a chronological order, however, I knew that sooner or later I would slip up and that has happened. So we’ll have to step back in time a bit to the Second World War and the lamp featured here.

This is the battery powered Air Raid Precautions lamp that would have been carried by Air Raid Wardens and the police during the days of the Blitz.

The lamp’s main feature that differs from other police lamps is the light deflecting hood on the front of the lamp to prevent the light from being picked up by enemy bombers.

When I purchased this lamp it was in very bad shape and I intended to use it only as a restoration project. The metal was severely rusted and much of the black paint missing from the main body as was the white paint inside the deflector. The box had to be left as found and still shows a good deal of water damage.

I was very happy with the way the restoration turned out and I will admit not a small bit surprised. Because of my low expectations of success I never bothered with the before, during and after photos so it will not be featured in the Restoration Section of the forum.

I hope you find this historically significant little lamp an interesting addition to this post.

Regards

Brian

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The Ever Ready Light c. 1960

The last (for now) in this series is the British made Ever Ready light. As may be seen in the photos, this battery powered light has all of the qualities we’ve seen throughout the article of the typical police lamp and in this case includes a metal piece on the back to keep the lamp from accidently coming off the officer’s belt. About all that can be said about this lamp can be seen in the photos below see I see no need to belabour the issue with a lot of redundant literature.

We’ve taken the British Police lamp from the days pre-dating the Victorian era where candles were used in the police lamps and through the Victorian Period where whale oil was used, including the use of coal oil (or kerosene). These lamps threw out very low intensity illumination, though they were the leading edge of technology of the day, and were not all that eclipsed by the early battery powdered lamps. Today’s lights are so strong and compact that one would almost think the officer could use them as a Star-Wars-style light sabre if needed. While that is science fiction, to be sure, the fact that today’s lights can temporary blind a suspect long enough to give the office a little advantage has been proven in the field time and again.

The chances of the Police Lamp being replaced seems slim indeed and it will remain and important piece of kit in preventing and solving crimes making the night and our streets a safer place for all.

Regards

Brian

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Hello Darklantern,

Welcome to the forum, it is good to see a fellow lantern collector.  Your collection is magnificent and I hope you will continue to post information and articles of what both Mervyn and I consider a most interesting topic.  Mervyn was the inspiration for me starting to collect police lamps.

Regards

Brian

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Thank you very much. 

I try to convince my son to translate the posts to English.

I have a crescent lamp, from Canada. Apparently it was used on the railways. It is more accurate to the patent, which  the lamp I present in the lamp post.. I have it in a box in an old attic. I have to photograph this lamp.

Regards:

Juan

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Sorry for my English:

This dark lantern has two singularities; It is made in Spain and the fuel is calcium carbide:

IMG_0010.gif

It was made by an inventor of Barcelona. Inspired by the watchmen spanish lanterns and British police lanterns.

IMG_0018.jpg

For information on calcium carbide lamps, you can see, my post about the history of the autonomous lighting:

http://rasgandolaoscuridadhistoriailuminacio.blogspot.com.es/2014/08/historia.html

Regards:

Juan

Edited by DARKLANTERN

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Hello Juan,

Your English is very good, no problems.  I should be sorry for the way I use English since it is my mother language.  Your collection is fantastic and I really liked the way you photographed the first lantern in the post above, very nice effect.

It has been a while since I have added to my lantern collection but who knows what will come my way tomorrow, I just need to be calm and wait.:cool:

Regards

Brian

 

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There is a police secton under the Special Interest area that might be a better choice to post lanterns from other countries.  This area is mainly for British Police and the other section may be seen by more people with interest in lanterns but not necessarily British Lanterns.

Regards

Brian

 

 

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