Railroad Lanterns and Lamps are one of the most popular and hottest areas of collecting within railroadiana. Collectors are very passionate and many of them spend copious amounts of their free time researching, catalouging, and pursuing the hobby. While lanterns and lamps are very popular they can also be extremely rewarding, after you’ve gotten your feet wet. At first it can be very confusting with between 10 and 20 variations on a single lantern model, but taking your time and talking with established collectors can really help you get going.
One important thing to remember with lanterns and lamps is that even within a given “model” from a manufacturer many different variations exist. When someone tells me they have an Adams and Westlake “Adams” model on the lantern there are at least 32 different variations before considering different railroad markings, globe colors or various patent dates found on different pieces of the lantern. As you can tell, it would be quite a task just to collect all the versions of one type of lantern! This can be very confusing to new collectors, but just consider how it happened. A lantern manufacturer produced a given model from several different pieces, such as the base, verticals, horizontals, font, font holder, smoke dome, bail, and globe. If the company refined or changed one of these pieces it frequently still used the other pieces instead of reinventing the entire lantern at once. Experts can sometimes date a lantern very precisely based on small features of individual pieces by knowing when new developments occurred. For this reason it is crucial to get expert help in dating and identifying exactly what type and period of lantern you have because values can vary widely based on very small differences.
Below is a listing of my pages on railroad lanterns and lamps: