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Cranky Old Guy
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433 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently ordered a new Dietz oil lantern. It is on back-order.


My wife and I like to visit antique shops and I sometimes see old lanterns for sale at them. What I am wondering is what should I look at on a used lantern? Do parts wear out?

I would guess the first two things to look at would be that the globe is not cracked, and that there is no serious rust. What other things should I inspect for?

Thanks
 

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Left the building
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9,363 Posts
Make sure the burner turns freely. If you can carefully remove the globe, and burner assembly and make sure there's not a lot of rust inside the fount. Check bottom for pin holes and rust. Make sure there are no major dents in the tubes. A lot of times old lanterns have been sittinmg in barns and attics and get dirt dobber nest in the tubes, or other debris such as dead wasps and insects, which can impede air flow and affect flame. Just check it over good. I' at one time had over 300 lanterns I collected from antique shops and fleabay. Even if you find one that has some tiny holes in the bottom, but is in good shape otherwise....and you can get it cheap enough, just swish some gas tank sealer around the inside of the fount, and that will seal it.. http://www.eastwood.com/gas-tank-sealer-kits.html

Acouple of pics of some I've restored and kept....

First is a 1920's Dietz Little Star
Second is a Warren Eclipse from the 1890's
Third is a Dietz US LiftWire from the 1890's
and forth is an 1880 SG&L Brass #10.

First three are "hot blast" lanterns. Fourth is actuall a "hybrid" "warm" blast. It was the predicessor to the "cold blast " lantern, such as the Dietz Blizzard. A cold blast lantern put's out more light than a hot blast lantern. But all the oldies are neat to have.

All fully functional....though I try not to light the SG&L....These might be rarer than most shop will have...but you never know. Dietz were made in Syracuse til the 50's, so there's a larger concentration of them in the Northeast. Good brands to look for are Dietz, Buhl, CT Ham, SG&L (Steam Guage & Lantern...) and some Embury's and Defiance. SG&L went out early on, and CT Ham went out in 1914.

Best place for "parts" is http://lanternnet.com/
 

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Registered
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214 Posts
A good lamp is a Rayo just as bright as an Alladin,But a lot cheaper.Don't worry about globes they are cheap and easy to find.

Txhills you have some nice lanterns
 

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Cranky Old Guy
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433 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
TXhills,

Thanks for the information and for the great pictures.

Lanterns would make a fun and interesting collection! They would be very useful for "lights out", and would probably make good "trade" items.
 

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RESET CONGRESS!!
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9,462 Posts
Unless you're into antiques... buy something new and cheap.
I bought two Chinese oil lanterns from WalMart recently... $4.88 each.
Copies of the lanterns you are looking for and 100% functional.
I'll never wear these things out.. other than wicks, they will last me a lifetime.
Don't waste $$$. Go for the value. The antique lamps probably cost $.75 cents to make.
Mine probably cost $1.00 to make... and will last 50 years.
 

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˙ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsn
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Unless you're into antiques... buy something new and cheap.
I bought two Chinese oil lanterns from WalMart recently... $4.88 each.
Copies of the lanterns you are looking for and 100% functional.
I'll never wear these things out.. other than wicks, they will last me a lifetime.
Don't waste $$$. Go for the value. The antique lamps probably cost $.75 cents to make.
Mine probably cost $1.00 to make... and will last 50 years.
Haha, I have one too. I bought it just to try it out for that price. Its good enough to see, but a yellow light, nothing special. For the money I may buy 3 or 4 more. They even come with a spare wick.
 

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Free Mason
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1,100 Posts
Unless you're into antiques... buy something new and cheap.
I bought two Chinese oil lanterns from WalMart recently... $4.88 each.
Copies of the lanterns you are looking for and 100% functional.
I'll never wear these things out.. other than wicks, they will last me a lifetime.
Don't waste $$$. Go for the value. The antique lamps probably cost $.75 cents to make.
Mine probably cost $1.00 to make... and will last 50 years.
The cheep lanterns at WalMart have a narrow wick and do not give off as much light. They also have a small tank. The Dietz Number 8 has a 7/8 inch wide wick and a large tank. The new Dietz are made in China but the quality is good. At $15.00 it is a good buy.
 

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I sell US Military MRE's
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6,477 Posts
Unless you're into antiques... buy something new and cheap.
I bought two Chinese oil lanterns from WalMart recently... $4.88 each.
Copies of the lanterns you are looking for and 100% functional.
I'll never wear these things out.. other than wicks, they will last me a lifetime.
Don't waste $$$. Go for the value. The antique lamps probably cost $.75 cents to make.
Mine probably cost $1.00 to make... and will last 50 years.
I agree with the utility of a cheap chinese copy but having said that, I buy and resale things for a living. Value can be translated into what you can resell an item for. The US made Dietz lamps are collectable and have a good demand of buyers. Even better, they work great.
 

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KyWildman
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47 Posts
What is the best type of oil to use? I've heard paraffin oil is the best but i cant find any where i live... walmart has a clear lamp oil but it is not paraffin and it stinks up the room like gas...
 

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Professional Amateur
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284 Posts
I have an old metal lamp that looks like those. Just used it as a decoration, never used it or even looked at it closely. I'll have to see if I can find it dust it off and have a look at it. It's blue if I recall.

D
 

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Cranky Old Guy
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433 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

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Founder
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Just make sure the wick goes up and down when you twist the knob. Keep in mind, the larger the reservoir, the longer the lamp can burn.

Due to fire hazard, I am trying to get away from kerosene lanterns. I have a bunch, but rarely use them.

 

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Cranky Old Guy
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Discussion Starter #13
I am very familiar with these solar lights. I have about 20 of them, and have used some for over 5-years. I use them to mark the path between my house and my lower patio. I would not stake my life on them, even when they do work, which is sporadic.

They produce very limited light for about 3-6 feet. The use of them is dependent on batteries, which last about a year or so and need replacing. I have some that never worked right-and I use them for parts.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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What is the best type of oil to use? I've heard paraffin oil is the best but i cant find any where i live... walmart has a clear lamp oil but it is not paraffin and it stinks up the room like gas...
The so called "lamp oil" from the store can be deodorized kerosene or it can be paraffin. If it says it's for oil candles and lamps, then it's paraffin. If it doesn't mention the oil candles, then it's probably kerosene. In my area it's mostly kerosene. All liquid paraffin is, is mineral oil. You can probably buy it cheaper at the pharmacy.
 

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Registered
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I use two railroad lanterns. 1) Handlan 2) Adams & West Lake. They are from the 50's and work great. Even as old as they are, they will still out last me. Bought cheep and refinished my self. If I can do it anyone can.
 

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Professional Amateur
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My Dietz Little Wizard. It's stamped, "NY USA". Vintage unknown, ... to me. lol. A friend gave it to me 25 years ago or so? The tank is clean and shiny inside. I need a new wick, it's narrower than my other lamps. I bet it will work just fine though. What can anyone tell me about this?

 

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Left the building
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My Dietz Little Wizard. It's stamped, "NY USA". Vintage unknown, ... to me. lol. A friend gave it to me 25 years ago or so? The tank is clean and shiny inside. I need a new wick, it's narrower than my other lamps. I bet it will work just fine though. What can anyone tell me about this?

That style little Wizard was made from around 1936 thru '55, before manufacture went to China. It's called a steamlined from the art deco period . Made in the good ole US of A. Some early versions of that may have some patent dates on the right air tube towards the top...looking at the lantern from the "front." Your lantern was made after 1938.
 

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I don't wanna talk about
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436 Posts
How timely. Recently, I was checking my wal mart lanterns. Watching you guys in the midwest getting hammered had me a little jumpy. I filled one of them up half-way and it's been sitting on the counter for a week or two. I just lifted it and found a large ring of oil under it and the seam around the base is wet.

This is only a report on a single lantern so take it with a grain of salt.
 
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