The Banner Cold Blast
This Banner Cold Blast lantern falls into a neat ‘transitional’ era between the 1907 season model and the 1908 season model. Every year the Ontario Lantern & Lamp Co. would update their Banner model for the new ‘season’ making slight changed and revisions every year. This lantern falls into the transition era between the two years. The 1907 Banner had a brass plate on the top, but it has been removed and the Banner flag logo was used instead. Also, this lantern has the lift lock mechanism introduced on the 1908 model. The fount was also changed on the 1908 model to include the company name and the slogan “Warranted Wind Proof”.
One of the purchasing options companies often offered for their lanterns was a fount made of brass. This had obvious advantages, brass does not rust like tin does, and a brass fount can help prevent rusting in the fount. Once a lantern develops holes in the fount, it’s useless, so the idea of a lantern that never rusts out was an attractive one.
Brass also has it’s drawbacks, It’s a softer metal and a lot more fragile. Brass will dent easily compared to tin. Also, as brass ages, it can develop stress cracking. That is the story of this Banner Cold Blast. I bought this lantern off an online auction, I knew the fount was brass, but the pictures were dark, and a little blurry, and I did not see the extensive stress cracking along the walls of the lantern. That discovery was extremely disappointing. However, a brass fount Banner from 1907-08 is worth saving no matter what.
Restoring the Lantern
After talking with some friends, the idea of putting a large hose clamp on the fount, tightening it so it brings the cracks together and working at the cracks from the inside was proposed. So that’s what I did.
It’s amazing how well it worked! After securing a hose clamp on the sides, the next task was taking the bottom off. Thankfully, the bottom on this era of Banners is a round piece of metal that fits into the bottom and soldered in place.
After getting the bottom off, I sanded the inside so it was smooth and clean and the proceeded to solder the inside of the lantern over the cracks, so there was solder holding the cracks from the inside and filling the cracks. It’s hard to get a sense of how bad the cracking really was, It was basically around the entire fount to the point it’s actually incredible it did not split in two.
After All that was done It was time to remove the paint. When I first got it, I thought for sure there was rust under the paint. Paint can give clues what condition the metal is underneath it. When smooth, it’s usually a good sign. This was not smooth at all. Amazingly, removing the paint revealed an absolutely incredible lantern! There is a lot of original tin plating left on the lantern (the original finish of the lantern), and there is almost no pitting from the rust.
I’m amazed at how this lantern turned out. It went from a fount that was almost split in two, and what I thought would be a rust bucket to a beautiful lantern with no pitting, a lot of tin plating and even better, a fount that doesn’t leak at all! This is easily one of the best Banner Cold Blast lanterns in my collection.