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Dietz 1922 Bell System Lantern

Started by TelePlay, May 09, 2020, 10:40:41 AM

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I spotted on eBay the end of April. No bids until the last day. I sniped it at $168 and got it for $76 plus $12.55 shipping - a very good price for a lantern with "Bell System" etched on both sides of the red globe and embossed on front and back top sides of the fuel tank.

Turns out is was made in Syracuse New York in February of 1922. Except for a slight inward bend of one air tube, the lantern was in good physical condition. This lantern seems to have been used in a very hostile environment in that the bottom half of the red globe is partially frosted (last image below) and the tin plate patina is dark brown instead of dark grey which means the lantern was exposed to environmental HF and not HS from the high sulfur content kerosene fuel used back then.

It was full of black soot and when that was gone, was left with a high character dark brown patina as seen in the before and after images below. Hard to find a 98 year old complete Bell lantern with the original globe, the first I've seen on eBay for under $100, so quite the find for me.

I now have 2 brown lanterns, both came with globes that were etched indicating both were exposed to HF creating tin fluoride mineral patina rather than the more common HS, from kerosene combustion, dark gray tin patina.

These are out there, complete Bell System lanterns, but not that often found or seen and rarely in top physical condition.


It looks like it has potential.  I know you'll be able to develop it.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Arthur C. Clarke