1910 Ontario Footwarmer

The Lantern Footwarmer was patented by George Hurlbut Whitaker of the United States in 1908. Shortly after the Lantern Footwarmer Co. was incorporated in Cobourg, Ontario.The footwarmer was a novelty item advertised to doctors, farmers, railroaders, anyone who would be out in the cold in a wagon, etc. The design is quite simple, copper pads are attached to a flat wooden board, the pads are connected with a copper ribbon that goes over the top of the burner. When the lantern is burning, the flame warms the copper ribbon and by convection, warms the pads too. The user then puts their feet on the pads, and presto! Warm feet.

It proved to be quite popular, so popular it attracted the attention of Ontario Lantern & Lamp. In 1910 OL&L bought the patent and rights to make the Lantern foot warmer from the Lantern Footwarmer Co. They made some changes to the lantern, made the wood base wider, changed the lantern from a Dietz Victor to the OL&L Climax, and improved the overall fit and finish. They also changed the name to the ‘Ontario Footwarmer’. OL&L then began a massive ad campaign, contests for children, all kinds of ads, calendars, etc. It was so popular that they could not produce enough of them to keep up with orders. Sadly, the new footwarmer was short lived, in 1911 the advertising abruptly stopped and it was removed from their offerings. I’m not sure why, whether it was a dispute with George Whitaker, or some other issue, but the Ontario Footwarmer was a short lived product.

This lantern came to my possession from a friend, who I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to own this lantern. It’s in wonderful condition, and works well! certainly a unique lantern. It also has the only Climax globe I own, sadly the globe is cracked.

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