Pressure Lamps International

Mantle Lamp Company and Aladdin

©AWMoore 1999


The Mantle Lamp Company are associated with only a few models of pressure lanterns compared to the huge range of the more famous Aladdin wick lamps. The first involvement with pressure lanterns seems to have taken place well before WW2, probably in the 1920s and 30s, when the Aladdin logo appeared alongside that of the German Petromax on a range of lanterns built for different kinds of fuel and sold in Europe. It is not unusual to find the "Petromax - Aladdin" name among contemporary advertisements, and by all accounts, the lanterns were pretty much identical to the Petromax marketed in the UK and Europe.

WW2 put an end to the relationship between Aladdin's London division and the Berlin manufacturers, and Aladdin turned to Willis and Bates in Halifax, England, to manufacture and supply kerosene pressure lanterns marketed under the Bialaddin brand name. Willis and Bates also sold their own versions of lanterns under the Vapalux brand name. Bialaddin were not made after 1968 but Willis and Bates still make Vapalux today, and they are thought to be the only surviving British pressure lantern maker.

During WW2 a military lantern model A was made in the USA, but it is thought that few survive today.

In addition to USA operations, Aladdin also used "third party" manufacturers in other countries, notably Brazil, Sweden and Australia. In the USA, model A was made for military use, and it seems this model was based upon an earlier design made by Radius and Primus in Sweden. In Australia, a similar model was known as 1A, and became very common in the southern and western states. Spare parts can still be obtained from T.W. Sands of Melbourne. There were lots of variants with cosmetic differences, but the most common used a dull green paint finish on the brass font. Others had bright nickel or chrome plating on font and hood, or had a black enameled gallery. One, found in Kalgoorlie, WA, is a peculiar bright gold, similar to an anodized finish.

Aladdin advert from Australia

Advertising leaflet by Aladdin of Bourke St, Waterloo, NSW Australia

In Sweden, a very similar but slightly taller and heavier model, designated 12A was made, or maybe the 1A was a lighter version of the 12A. The 12A itself is pretty much identical to a version made by and marketed by Radius in Sweden, and some slight evidence of collusion between the two manufacturers comes in the form of the ceramic burner on the 12A. This component is shorter than the 1A burner, and in some samples found today the 12A burner is marked with the Radius name. Early versions of the 1A were fitted with mica globes which had no sliding door or other opening, since the lantern could be charged with alcohol and ignited through a hole in the base plate using a purpose designed bottle with a bendy spout. Glass globes are by Pyrex, the Australian versions are marked "made in Australia". The Swedish lantern incorporates a pressure safety valve and an air release screw fixed to the filler cap.

Three Aladdins

Three Aladdin stormproof lanterns

A completely different design was produced in Brazil, and the PL1 was made in the USA. The PL1 was a dual fuel lantern, adjustable to burn either kerosene or gasoline.

Aladdin PL2

Pressure Lantern 1, or PL1

In recent years the economic squeeze of worldwide recession has hurt household name compainies all raound the world, and Aladdin have not escaped entirely. The company has undergone huge restructuring, and the article from The TENNESSEAN Newspaper outlines some of them. Thanks to David Welborn of Tullahoma for this information.

By CHARLES BOOTH
The Leaf-Chronicle
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -The Aladdin Mantle Lamp Co. is boasting new leadership to help enhance its presence in the international market. Beginning its second year in Clarksville, the kerosene oil lamp manufacturer has a new president, Len Stolz, and a new chief executive officer, Bill Courter. Stolz, who joined the com-pany in June, formerly was director of Asian business in the outdoor recreation group of the Brunswick Corp. He has more than 20 years of experience in regional management for The Coleman Co. "We really feel that there are lots of places in the world where electricity isn't there and our products are still in need," Courter said. "One of our goals will be to develop some cost-effective products for other countries because their exchange rates and their levels of purchase might be different" Courter, along with 13 other investors, bought the company from Nashville-based Aladdin Industries in 1999. Aladdin Mantle Lamp moved into a 55,000-square-foot build-ing in the Clarksville Industrial Park almost a year ago. The two positions became vacant when former president Tom Teeter and former vice president and chief executive officer Tom Anderson resigned to pursue other career opportunities. With its 15 employees, the company carries on its 90-year tradition of producing non-electric lamps. Emitting 60 candlepower of non-electric light, the lamps give off light and heat without producing smoke, odor or noise.
from THE TENNESSEAN, Friday, November 17, 2000


Anthony Hobson describes a brief history of the Mantle Lamp Company in his excellent book "Lanterns that lit our world - II" available from Golden Hill Press, New York 12165


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