1900s C.T. Ham Fire Chief

This is a Fire Department lantern made by C.T. Ham of Rochester, NY. These lanterns were specially designed for fire departments with a splash guard, cage and brass fount. The cage is removable, for easy service of the lantern. The smaller brass handle was used to connect the lantern to a special holder on the side of a firetruck or wagon.

This lantern also has Ham’s easily recognizable “Side Spring Safety” feature. Attached to the inside of the tubes are brass ‘springs’ that are pressed against the globe, when the user lifts the globe up, those springs hold onto the globe, because of the curved shape of the globe, and keep it held in place. Ham used this design for many lanterns and named quite a few models the S.S.S., which stood for Side Spring Safety. A lot of Ham burner cones from this era are also marked S.S.S.

I was quite excited to get this lantern, but after I stripped off the paint, I found the tubes full of holes. It was rotting from the inside out. I was quite disappointed at the time, so it went on the shelf of projects and into limbo. After a while with some more skills I decided to give it a try again. I cleaned the rust as best I could, filled the inside of the tubes with a rust converter to stop any new rust from forming. Then with a product called Devcon Plastic Steel, I filled all the holes in the tubes. I spent quite a lot of time getting a smooth finish with the product. I also reattached the Side springs on the lantern. The end result is a great looking lantern now, which I was extremely close to getting rid of before.

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