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The earliest lantern globes had the railroad's initials cast in raised letters as part of the molding process. The earliest of these, such as the example shown here, had a high top and a smooth kerosene tank.
In later years, the initials were etched into the glass.
Sometimes, a timely lantern was a life-or-death illumination.
According to one romanticized 19th-century story, a 15-year-old girl named Kate Shelley saved the Fast Atlantic Express from a broken bridge by alerting a station agent, whose lantern signal to the train averted disaster.
Below are some general categories of collectible railroad items, each one of which is generally broad enough to have its own unique website if I had the time!
If you’re a seasoned collector, then you know what you’re looking for.
Some Dietz Vestas were supplied with a heavy weighted base, such as this example. Early glass globes were also marked with the railroad's initials. This lantern also has the same marking cast into its red globe. However, in later years the New Haven bought unmarked globes. The Dietz Vulcan was replaced by the Vesta model during the early 1920s. The Dietz company of New York City was perhaps the New Haven's most important supplier of kerosene hand lanterns. Hand lanterns were used for signaling purposes and as sources of illumination. Yellow lanterns such as this one were used to indicate a temporary speed restriction or to mark standing occupied cars. Later Dietz Vestas, such as this example, had a shorter top, locking handle holder, and a ribbed kerosene tank. It has an unusual variation globe which is marked with cast "N.