Presented is a vintage Adlake railroad kerosene lantern, with a red glass globe and wire caging. The lantern was manufactured by the Adams & Westlake Company of Chicago, Illinois, sometime between 1945-1965. It was originally used on the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad, and is stamped "C & WI" along the dome's base.
Kerosene lanterns just like this one were used daily by railroad workers. They were not only a source of light, but also the best means of communication when operating and directing trains, as the noisy working environments and the distance involved in train operations negated communication by speaking or yelling.
Railroad lanterns were portable and were an effective light source that could be easily seen at night from a distance. As a method of communication, the railroad worker would swing and move the lantern in different ways according to what message he wanted to send. For instance, to give a stop signal, the lantern would be swung back and forth horizontally across the tracks and the signal to proceed was to move the lantern up and down vertically.
At the turn of the 20th century, railroad operators used colored globe lanterns for illumination and signaling at night. The meanings of the colors were the precursors to our modern traffic light system. White was used to indicate that it was safe to proceed, green signaled caution, and red indicated "Stop" or "Danger."
The Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad was a short line running 16 miles from downtown Chicago to Dolton, Illinois, the first suburb south of Chicago, with another line running southeast from Eighty-First Street to the Indiana state line. Built in the 1880s, it was owned by five trunk line railroads that used it as an efficient and inexpensive route into downtown Chicago. Like many 19th-century railroads, the C&WI reached its traffic peak in the middle of the 20th century.
Good condition overall. Railroad lantern, with red glass globe, surrounded by a metal frame. Used kerosene as a fuel source . Scuffs and scratches to metal and metal coating. Small areas of tarnish and rust present. Glass globe intact. Top stamped "Adlake" and "kero." Stamped "C & WI" on the dome's base. Stamped "USA / 1415633/ 1415634-1415635/ 1660194" and "CANADA 921-19." Sold as décor item, it has not been tested.
Dimensions: (relaxed handle) 9 1/4" H x 7" W x 6 1/4" D.
Dimensions: (with wire handle completely extended) 12" H x 7" W x 6 1/4" D.