In 1872, John Henry Stone got his first tubular lantern patent. That was the first tubular lantern patent in Canada as well. Stone was working as a superintendent at a large Hamilton, Ontario tinware factory at the time. Not long after in 1873, Stone got his second patent and decided to go into the lantern business himself. he quickly opened up a small shop in Hamilton, which he named the J.H. Stone & Co. The first design he released was called ‘Stone’s Short Tubular’, which became extremely popular. So popular in fact, he quickly formed a relationship with another tinware company in Hamilton, where his lanterns were made in that factory as well, since his small shop was now too small to keep up with the demand.
Stone’s business eventually grew to also make various other lines of tinware, milk cans, etc. The Stone’s Short Tubular remained the backbone of the business and Stone never stopped tinkering and modifying the designs, lifts, and hinges it was made with. Stone’s Short Tubular was so popular in fact it was also made under contract in both England and the United States. There were tens of thousands made every year.
Selling His Company
Later on in 1885, Stone sold his business to two new up-and-coming business men, Walter Burn and William Robinson, they changed the name of the company to Burn & Robinson. Stone himself semi retired to Belleville, Ontario, where he struck up a relationship with C.F. Smith, also a lantern maker, and together they continued making the still popular Stone’s Short Tubular.
Around 1888, Stone licensed his designs out to Matthew & Willards (M&W) in Waterbury, Connecticut. M&W did a lot of sheet brass work and made a lot of their lanterns out of nickel plated brass. They also made a No.00 brass lantern of the Stone design too.
Identifying J.H. Stone Lanterns
This question has come up frequently while talking about J.H. Stone’s lanterns, especially when it comes to his later fancier ‘scroll work’ patterned lanterns.
The easist way to Identify where a Stone lantern was made, is by the patent dates. Stone patented his designs in Canada, USA, and UK. Canadian made lanterns have the Canadian patent dates, while the American made lanterns have the American patent dates. The UK made stone lanterns have all been marked with brass tags, or embossing on the lanterns.
Lastly, the American made Stone lanterns. Stone appears to have only started working with M&W after he received his 1887 patent (1888 in America) . I have at least not seen evidence to say otherwise. The fancier ‘scroll work’ designs also only appear on post 1888 lanterns, and appear in advertising around the 1890 mark, so those can be dated to the 1890s.
As always, if you have a Stone lantern you don’t see here, or need help dating one you have, you can contact me and I’ll happily help you out.
J.H. Stone & Co. Lanterns
Other J.H. Stone Lanterns in my Collection
Since Stone worked with multiple companies after he sold J.H. Stone & Co. I’m putting all my other lanterns designed by him here as well as the other pages, this way all of the Stone lanterns I own are on one page.