Here is an absolutely superb example of a tall lantern from the Delaware & Hudson Railroad. This is a "Number 39 Railroad" model made by the C. T. Ham Company of Rochester, New York. In our "Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting, Vol I" (Barrett) an identical lantern is pictured on page 136. We can date this lantern to having been made between 1898 (when the D&H began to call itself "The D&H Co." and 1915, when its maker, C.T. Ham, went out of business (see Background, below).
Condition? The only thing this lantern needs is a shelf upon which to sit and an admiring collector to enjoy it. It is lovely with no metal damage and an old clear coat. The frame is straight and sound. Note the double wire vertical guards that form the "ears" for the handle. The brass burner, the tin fuel pot and the inside frame (especially the ledge where the fuel pot sits) are exceptionally clean. The globe retainer is present inside the smoke dome.
The manufacturer information is strongly embossed on the top of the smoke dome. Around the rim is also strongly embossed THE D.&H. CO. in highly visible, tall letters.
The globe is clear, and is embossed (cast) with a raised "the D&H" script logo that sprawls over most of one side. The CNX mark of the Corning Glass Company is cast on the opposite top. There are interesting swirls and a few small bubbles in the glass, which is beautifully clear with no cloudiness.
IMPORTANT: There are a few nitpick issues: (1) There are tiny holes in the fuel fount, and some new solder shows on the smoke dome. (2) Cosmetically, the placement of the thumb latch created two flat rivet heads on the &H stamping. (3) The script logo casting on the globe is all present and absolutely accurate, but is not as strongly impressed as it might have been.
BACKGROUND: The C. T. Ham Manufacturing Company was started in 1886 by Charles Trafton Ham. Located in Rochester, New York, its purpose was to manufacture tubular lanterns and lamps and railroad lanterns. During their heyday, the company employed between 250 - 300 people. In 1915 the company closed when it was purchased by the R. E. Dietz Company.
The railroad marking importantly includes the word "Co." , which dates the lantern to the period when the Delaware & Hudson was transitioning from its previous canal/water transportation field into one of primarily land transportation. The Delaware & Hudson began in 1826 as the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company Gravity Railroad, incorporated and chartered with land grant rights in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania as a subsidiary of the Delaware & Hudson Canal. It began as the second longest U. S. gravity railroad, built initially to haul coal to canal boats, and was the second railway chartered in the United States (the first was the Mohawk & Hudson Rail Road), even before the Baltimore & Ohio, which came into existence in 1827.
Known as the D&H Canal Company from 1823 to 1898, during which its main emphasis was on water transportation, the operation restructured in 1898, becoming The D&H Company, which existed until 1928. Then, in 1928, it reorganized as the D&H Railroad, which operated until 1967. In 1968 it was restructured again, into the D&H Railway.
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