1903-1914 Hiram L. Piper Inspectors Lantern

Hiram Piper supplied all kinds of lanterns and lighting for railways, however when you sell so much, sometimes they just can’t make everything. Such is the case with this lantern, while Piper did make their own lighting, mostly lamps, they were also big into Jobbing, the practice of rebranding products and acting as the middle man. This lantern was originally made by the C.T. Ham Mfg. Co. of Rochester, N.Y. Piper soldered on their brass tag. Ham closed in 1914, so this lantern can be dated between when Hiram Piper opened in 1903 and when Ham closed in 1914.

Inspectors lanterns were used by Car inspectors, who would walk up and down trains inspecting brakes and journal boxes. These lanterns had an added handle to make carrying them for longer periods of time more comfortable, especially when moving the lantern to redirect the beam of light.These lanterns were invaluable tools to railroad workers back then.

Since the goal of an inspectors lantern was to put out as much light as possible, tubular lanterns were used over dead flame lanterns, as tubular lanterns provide more light output. For people like me, who love tubular lanterns and railways, an inspectors lantern is the best of both worlds.


  • Susan

    We have a lantern that is marked N. L. Piper railway supply co.. limited, Toronto. It has a large handle, a back hinged door that has a hook.. looks like a vented top. Has a small hole on the bottom.. would love to send you a photo of it.. it’s in pretty good shape..

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