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Among my collection of collections the brass lamps (and other brass items) are some of my favorites. I've picked them up for years from antique shops, auctions, flea and antique markets, car swap meets, other collectors, and even of course at Hershey swap meet (sadly missing this year).  I added this gem to my collection this past week at the Luray Virginia Pre War Swap Meet.  It is in outstanding condition, needing only a bit of repair on the hinge for the door and some polish.  It is an Autolyte self generating headlamp, circa 1903/4.  These were usually found on higher-end cars and used as just a single lamp mount out front.  I've also included an advertisement from 1904 showing the lamp.

 

Thought this would be a good topic to start here as I know there are brass collectors out there - some with large collections, some with just a few on a book shelf.  Post some photos so we can all share.  Wouldn't mind seeing some of the unrestored projects waiting for the buffing wheel.

Terry

 

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5 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

Thought this would be a good topic to start here as I know there are brass collectors out there - some with large collections, some with just a few on a book shelf.  Post some photos so we can all share.  Wouldn't mind seeing some of the unrestored projects waiting for the buffing wheel.

Terry

I for one and I'm sure there are others who wouldn't mind a lesson in how to polish - suggested techniques and products etc.  I'm always a little shy at starting to clean and polish various parts for fear of scratching or damaging the surface.  

 

Don 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't have a large collection of brass lamps but enough to gaze upon and make me feel happy. The reflection in the polished brass is the door to the past when these were fitted to vehicles. The lamps here are from several countries: The single large lamp on its own post is a spot lamp that would have been mounted in a bracket on the dashboard or a post next to the driver that most likely would have been attached to the running board. It is made by PHARE in Paris , France is 8 1/4 inches deep and the face/lens is 9 1/4 inches , has a thick mirror back inside to make the light from the gas burner shine even brighter. It was able to turned on by a friction scrape inside the lamp itself - see exterior and interior views/photos. there is a handle mounted to the back of the light to aim it at an object.

 

the single lamp is a self generating lamp ( has its own self contained fuel supply inside the lamp) made in Birmingham ,England by Powell & Hamner . who labeled it a "motor headlamp". 10 1/2 inches high 8 inch face/lens, 11 1/2 inches long

 

The pair of lamps are American made by Dietz - No. 3 , huge lamps in all respects

 

The tail light is made in the USA by Winchester, N0. 3.

 

Enjoy - Walt G.

PS no I do not enjoy polishing them! but winter is about to be upon us so guess what I will be doing?

 

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Edited by Walt G (see edit history)
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Those are fantastic Walt.  I found my 1st brass lamp at an antique toy show in Manchester, England years ago.  It was French, and I still have it proudly displayed in a cabinet.  I usually have a goal every year at Hershey-buy one nice piece of brass.  Some years I come away empty handed, and other times get lucky and find a couple of them.  Yes, keeping them polished is a chore but like you said winter is coming

I am including a photo of a Vena self-generating headlamp.  It's the type that would be used on an early car having just a single lamp mounted out front, similar to my newly acquired Autolyte (which I've not polished yet).  Somehow the soft golden glow of a lamp that's been polished a long time ago is quite appealing.

Hope we get some other collectors to post photos too.  The variety of lamps seems almost endless.

Terry

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Thanks Terry. Yes please folks publish some photos of your lamps and horns, it is a great education to actually see an existing example.

My first time at Hershey in 1965 my primary goal was to buy and take home a brass lamp , "old" cars to me then were brass era. I bought a Neverout side light for $12 and told my parents when I got home it cost $8 because I had to use some of my saved up lunch money to get it. I still have it and finally found its mate so have a pair.  🙃

 

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Radiator Emblems and mascots take up most of my hobby monies but this little pedal car lamp is the only thing that I have kept as far as brass goes. Somewhere in an Automobile Quarterly there was a good picture of the identical lamp on a “Locomobile” from the time where a single center mounted light was common. 
 

You guys have great stuff in your collections!

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That's a great lamp! Very early pedal cars generally used a bicycle lamp (or two) on them, but some very high end, expensive toys actually used lamps that were smaller scale versions of early automobile lamps. A headlight is a rare piece indeed!Here are a couple of pedal car lamps from my collection, along with a very rare salesman's sample of a C.T.Ham side lamp.

Terry

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A great pair of lamps made Oldfield in England. No relationship to the legendary Barney Oldfield.  They have perhaps been lit just once or twice in their lifetime and are in as-found condition.  They came from an antique shop in Virginia and were thought to be coach lamps.  I really like the cut-glass lens!  Next up is a great pair of E&J triple-tier sidelamps in pristine original condition. Third photo is a wonderful pair of Corcoran bail handled sidelamps with the beveled, curved side window.  Behind is a single Solar sidelamp that I'd just love to find a mate for!  Winter is coming and I'm looking forward to sitting at the fireplace and polishing brass.  Enjoy-

Terry

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Pair E&J tripple tier, round beveled front lens 1909 T.jpg

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Sitting by the fireplace and polishing brass- yes Terry I will be doing the same , so I can get all the lamps and horns in one place in one cabinet ( wishful thinking) .

I thought I sold off most all of my brass lamps except for the ones I posted photos of on this thread, then having to move some stuff around on a shelf above eye level to get a window repaired I found I had several sets of side lamps in pairs that I thought were gone years ago. they were hidden behind several pressed steel toys from the 1930s. My son just laughed at me "not surprised Dad" was his comment. Is this the onset of being a "fogey"???

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When the Hershey swap meet was cancelled, like everyone else who enjoys the treasure hunting there, it was a big disappointment.  Rescheduling the show, and eventually moving it to Gettysburg was a great solution but still, with no swap meet, it was only half of the usual fall meet.   However, I  was thrilled to find some additions to my brass collection this past weekend while in Gettysburg.  Had a little time on Friday so went into a couple of downtown Gettysburg antique shops, but as expected, they were very tourist oriented with lots of civil war memorabilia.  Just east of Gettysburg along Rt 30 however, there are a number of nice shops and there were some auto related goodies in them.  Found a nice brass bail handled sidelamp that was quite reasonable, then a beautiful Neverout headlamp with both brass and copper on it.  I bought it well because someone had converted it to an electric lamp by removing the gas burner and elbow at the base.  My parts department produced the right stuff and, since the conversion to electric was done without harming the lamp in any way, it was easy to remove and replace with the right parts.  Real prize though was the acquisition of a wonderful larger sized Autolyte self-generating lamp.  I got it with the help of a fellow AACA member who spotted it at an auction last year.  It needs a little work to straighten out a couple of bumps, but these are beautiful early lamps, and I'm happy to add them to my collection. 

Terry

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Love the brass!

 

Since I collect Pierce-Arrow memorabilia, my favorite brass light is a turn of the century (1895-1900) bicycle lamp, a Pierce Matchless.  It has a flint and striker, thus the name match-less.

 

I went to a car show in Hagarstown, Maryland, a number of years ago.  Walking the small flea market, there was a vendor who must have had 100 or so bicycle lamps on display for sale.  Looking at them, I jokingly said "Well, where's the Pierce lamp?", not even knowing such a thing existed.  He cocked his head and said it's in the truck, I didn't take it out because didn't figure anyone here would be interested.

 

Needless to say, I paid his very reasonable price.

 

Now, while a brass lamp, I'm sure this was nickel plated at one time, and someone, for some reason, stripped the plating.

 

For those of you who may not know, George N. Pierce started out making birdcages, then ice boxes, then bicycles, then cars.....

 

 

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I too love the brass era lights. Always thought I'd get a brass car but it never happened. A few years ago I found this poor light on Etsy and just had to rescue it. I knew with the damaged door and corrosion it was beyond my talent and people on here recommended Mark Metzler who worked miracles on it to bring it back to life. It now sits on a an old surveyors transit  I found at a yard sale and has a place of honor in my den. I found an old magazine ad for this boat light from 1907. 

 

Howard Dennis

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Nice!  David-those cycle lamps are in a league of their own.  I have a small accumulation of them.  They are mounted on an original display.

Howard-that lamp turned out fantastic!   Question about your contact for the restoration work - is it a hobby for him or is he interested in doing work for others?  I always get asked about who restores lamps.  Of course Rick Britten in Michigan turns out fabulous work and is well known, but who else might tackle an occasional project for a collector?

Terry

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18 minutes ago, Terry Bond said:

Nice!  David-those cycle lamps are in a league of their own.  I have a small accumulation of them.  They are mounted on an original display.

Howard-that lamp turned out fantastic!   Question about your contact for the restoration work - is it a hobby for him or is he interested in doing work for others?  I always get asked about who restores lamps.  Of course Rick Britten in Michigan turns out fabulous work and is well known, but who else might tackle an occasional project for a collector?

Terry

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Thanks Terry, 

If memory serves me correctly Mark's main business is musical instrument repair but does brass light's as well.  He salvaged the squashed and split door on my light to the point that the repair is almost invisible if you don't know where it was !  

Howard Dennis

 

mark@metzlerbrass.com

 

 

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I am not surprised to read that  a gentleman  who repairs musical instruments ( horns ) would consider restoring brass lights if requested to. I was told the same thing decades ago when trying to have a brass lamp "made better" then I could ever possibly do without causing even further distress!  So much stuff that is just beautiful to behold on its own and not even connected to a car , but indeed manufactured for it. One can look at it , hold it in your hands and realize that this was thought about and created without the use of any electronic, computerized system - perhaps the only unit used for calculating something was a slide rule.  Instruments of creation had a point on one end and an eraser on the other and yes I still write with a pen that has a nib and you have to fill with ink - Luddite , yes in many ways I am. I can't press a button on a stack of period 100 year old magazines and then in seconds have the answer I seek. Sometimes the slower process may be more fun and satisfying. It is like seeing the reflections in the restored brass lamp or horn - history repeating itself and in view, an avenue to the past we cherish.

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Can someone tell me more about this lamp?  I've had it for several years.  It was a Hershey find that I bought just because it was really neat, even though it had a missing front glass and was badly tarnished.   My daughter is a manager at a glass company and was able to get a proper lens cut for it.  I finally decided to polish this little jewel and get it into a display case.  There are still a few more tight spots I need to fuss with but it's a great little lamp.  I believe it was an early Motorcycle lamp, but am not sure.  There are no markings on it except "Pat Applied for" stamped on the top.  I've not seen advertising for it but am aware another one sold at an auction in London years ago.  It was described as simply a "small carbide lamp."  It could be British or perhaps German?   I've not seen another one except the one from the auction.  Any info appreciated.

Terry

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