E.T. Wright & Co. Grand Trunk Railway Bell Bottom

This lantern is the same model as my Intercolonial Railway bell bottom lantern. This model was first made around 1908, it’s also the last model of bell bottom made by E.T. Wright & Co. It differs quite a bit from the wire bottom lanterns made at the same time. I find these lanterns to be stronger and better made than the wire bottoms, plus I also think they look a lot better. This model was made fairly late into the production of bell bottom lanterns, by the mid teens, bell bottom lanterns were largely phased out in favour of the wire bottoms by railroads.The Grand Trunk Railway liked bell bottom lanterns and seems to have ordered largely amounts of them over wire bottoms.

The Grand Trunk railway was chartered in 1852. and quickly became a major railway in Canada and the United Sates. A wonderful history of the railway can be found at The Canadian Encyclopedia here.

This lantern is in excellent condition, the body of the lantern was dipped in tin, while the top and bell was electroplated with tin. Tin plating was a rust preventative measure on lanterns, as well as an attractive bright finish. Tin dipping as a method of plating resulted in thicker coatings, and it often still survives. Electroplating resulted in a thinner, but smoother finish, but it also wears off a lot easier. That is why this lantern has two very contrasting colours.

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