In 1896, the Ontario Lantern Company purchased the struggling Dominion Tubular Lamp Co. Ontario Lantern was looking to expand into the lamp business, as well as take out a competitor. This purchased turned out to be quite an important one for the company.
The successful lines of lanterns made by DTL were moved to the main plant in Hamilton. While Walter Grose, co-owner of Ontario Lantern oversaw the lamp side of the business in Montreal, where both he and the former DTL company where located. One of those successful lines was the Royal Safety lantern, first designed and patented in 1892. This was a fairly popular line of lanterns, and already an established brand. So Ontario Lantern kept the design and name, adding the Royal Safety as their newest line of lanterns.
They made two types of the lantern, the square lift and the side lift. The square lift had a pull tab on the top of the lantern, so the user could lift the lantern. While the side lift had a lever soldered onto the tube of the lantern. They did however make some changes. They changed the fount, fuel cap, burner collar, and burner lock so it would use Ontario Lantern parts. This was done to simplify the production and make it faster, instead of having multiple lines for each individual product. Other than that, most details stayed the same.
The Royal safety wouldn’t last long at Ontario Lantern however, as it was just easier to keep with their existing products. Their already existing products like the Climax sold better than the Royal safety did as well. In late 1897, Ontario Lantern released their first cold blast lantern. They named it the Royal Cold Blast lantern. The Royal name was transferred to this new lantern line, and production stopped on the Royal Safety.
My Royal Safety
I was contacted by a a lady looking to sell this lantern, so we decided on a deal and I went to the lovely little spot of Dornoch, Ontario to pick it up.
This lantern is a wonderful lantern. Barely any pitting, all the solder joints were solid. Originally it had a handle from a kerosene can in it, so I replaced it with a more appropriate lantern handle. Other than that, the lantern was about as good as you could hope for, being 123-124 years old.
I’m extremely grateful I was able to get this lantern. As someone who loves Ontario Lantern Co. products, this lantern is a great snapshot into the company and how these lantern companies operated back in the day. Product lines, production designs and even the companies themselves changed quite frequently back then. It’s these short lived products that are so much fun to learn about, at least for me.
Click on the images to see larger versions
I’ve been asked about cleaning my lanterns, so I’ll be making a page about that soon. I’ve also been better at taking ‘before’ pictures than I have in the past. People seem to enjoy seeing them, so here are some before pictures of this lantern.
The Dominion Tubular Royal Safety Beside the Ontario Lantern Royal Safety
Here you can see the differences between the Ontario Lantern version (Left), and the Dominion Tubular version (Right). The Ontario lantern I have is the Side Lift model and the dominion tubular is the Square Lift. You can see the page on the Square lift here.