Last Update:  February 16, 2012
Railroad Lanterns & Lamps Series
Dressel Oil Fire Lanterns
Copyright © 2004-2012 All Rights Reserved
Lovell-Dressel Company (Dressel)

The Lovell-Dressel Company can trace its heritage to the Civil War when F.H. Lovell began making Marine Lamps.   Another company was founded by
George Dressel in the 1880s and focused primarily on the railroad market.   The F.H. Lovell company purchased the Dressel company in the 1920s and the
combined company became the Lovell-Dressel Company, although primarily known just as the Dressel Company.   The company was a major manufacture of
railroad hand oil lanterns as well as switch lamps and other railroad type lamps.   By the late 1960s, as kerosene lantern purchases by the railroads fell off
due to their replacement with electric lanterns, the Dressel Company was absorbed into the Adams & Westlake Company.

Most of the Dressel Lanterns, including the older versions, are easily distinguished from the Adlake Lanterns in that the globe guards consist of flat edged
longitude pieces along with wire lateral pieces, instead of the all round wire guards used by Adlake.   However, some early Adlake lanterns did utilize a similar
guard design.   The Dressel Lamps, especially the later models, also featured a simple and durable way of attaching the guard to the lamp body, via a clamp,
as opposed to soldering the guard to the lantern body as Adlake did.  Perhaps one of the biggest differences and advantages to the Dressel lamps over the
Adlakes is the very easy to use bail locking system.   The Dressels are also easier to restore in that the lids are easily removable as are all other parts of the
lantern.   It's probably this reason that allowed Dressel to remain in business for as long as it did.

All in all, the Dressel lamps to me, are the easiest to use, easiest to fire and look a little better than the Adlake Keros.  However, both are excellent designs for
modern use.

Unlike the Adlakes, the Dressels are much harder to date.  The later lanterns made by Dressel were almost entirely unchanged for decades and Dressel
never marked their lanterns with dates of manufacture.  They also did not vary how they marked or made their lanterns like Adlake did.  So it has been difficult
to determine the exact age of most of the Dressel collection.    If you have any tips on how to date my Dressel collection, please
email me.

For a more detailed history on the Lovell-Dressel Company
click here.
Dressel  Patent  No. 2157081.   This was a patent that was applied for in 1936 and granted in 1939 that patented the unique system in which Dressel used to
hold sprung globe retainer in position.      As soon as this patent was granted in 1939, Dressel stamped the patent onto the botom of it's lanterns.  However at
some point in the future it stopped stamping the patent.   When this occured we don't know.   Dressel lanterns with the patent stamp were made after May,
1939.   Some sources indicate that Dressel may have stopped stamping the patent date after 1940.   But it could have been later.
Dressel Locomotive Lantern - New Jersey Central Railroad
Locomotive lanterns were made by all of the major manufactures and can be distinguished by the fact that they have a large heavy base attached to the globe guard.   This heavy base
was used to keep the lantern secure on the floor of the locomotive cab.  In the early years, many companies required that the locomotive have one clear and one red lantern as a back
up.   Some have also claimed that the heavy base was designed to make the lanterns undesirable by brakeman due to their weight and therefore they were less likely to disappear.    
This model was made for the New Jersey Central Railroad, although the age of the lantern is unknown.  Probably 1940s to 1950s.
Dressel Locomotive Lantern - Caboose Marker Light - Unmarked
This is a relatively rare Dressel marker light.   These lights had marker brackets added at the factory and/or by the railroad that used them.   These marker lights were most often used
to mark the rear end of trains by mounting on cabooses, passenger cars or other equipment.    This particular lantern was restored by bead blasting and repainting with high temp
paint.  It is does not have any railroad markings.  0055 0015
Dressel Lantern - Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
This lantern was made for the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was a huge railroad on the East Coast and many lanterns for this railroad still exist today.   This Dressel was probably
made around 1939-1940.  It features what appears to be its original all brass burner.  It doesn't seem to have been used much
Dressel Lantern - Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
Another Pennsylvania Railroad lantern.  This one features not only a stamped lid, but also its original etched clear globe.   Date of manufacture is unknown, but probably post WW2
and maybe into the 1950s. .
Dressel - Unmarked
This Dressel has no railroad company markings on it.   The age is a mystery, although it could date to the 1950s or 1960s.
Dressel 1144 - U.S. Army Railroad
This Dressel is one of three lanterns that I purchased that are marked U.S. 1144.  The U.S.  Designated the lantern as belonging to the U.S. Army.    The 1144 was most likely for the
1144th Transportation Battalion.  The military operated its own base railroad systems and soldiers were often assigned to these railroad.   These three lanterns were never used and
were likely purchased in the 1950s or 60s.. The green globe shown in the photos is not the original globe that came with this lantern.  Green usually signalled that it was OK proceed,
but could also be used by switch tenders to indicate switch position.  They were also used by the wreck master at the scene of a wreck to signal the wreck clean up train engineer.
Dressel 1144 - U.S. Army Railroad
This Dressel is one of three lanterns that I purchased that are marked U.S. 1144.  The U.S.  Designated the lantern as belonging to the U.S. Army.    The 1144 was most likely for the
1144th Transportation Battalion.  The military operated its own base railroad systems and soldiers were often assigned to these railroad.   These three lanterns were never used and
were likely purchased in the 1950s or 60s..    The military operated its own base railroad systems and soldiers were often assigned to these railroad.   These three lanterns were
never used and were likely purchased in the late 1960s.  
 Given away to family member.
Dressel 1144 - U.S. Army Railroad
This Dressel is one of three lanterns that I purchased that are marked U.S. 1144.  The U.S.  Designated the lantern as belonging to the U.S. Army.    The 1144 was most likely for the
1144th Transportation Battalion.  The military operated its own base railroad systems and soldiers were often assigned to these railroad.   These three lanterns were never used and
were likely purchased in the 1950s or 60s..  These three lanterns were never used and were likely purchased in the late 1960s. The blue globe shown in the photos is not the original
globe that came with this lantern.   Blue lantern globes were used to mark equipment, cars and locomotives that were being serviced and should not be moved or used.
Dressel - New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (N.Y. N.H. & H. R)
This Dressel appears to have been made around 1939 to 1940.   At some point in time, it was electrified.   It was made for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.  The the NY,
NH & H was absorbed into the Penn System in 1969.
Dressel - Washington Terminal Company
Another Dressel, this time made for the Washington Terminal Company and marked W.T. Co. on the lid.   The Washington Terminal Company operated the railroads in and around
Washington D.C.'s busy Union Station.   Operations were taken over by Amtrak by 1981.  Red globe is unmarked cast and appears to be original to the lantern.  Age of the lantern is
unknown.
Dressel - New York City Subway
This Dressel is marked NYCS which most likely stands for New York City Subway.  It could possible stand for New York Central System, although the latter was usually marked NYC.   
This lantern was converted to electric at one point and had part of it's lid release broken off.   The older lantern guts were removed by me.   It's otherwise in excellent condition.  
However because it was modified and the lid is no longer easy to open and close for firing, it will likely be reconverted by me to an electric lantern.   
Dressel - Unmarked
This is unmarked Dressel lantern of unknown age.   When found, it had never been fired before.   Most likely purchased by a railroad and retained as spare stock in an age when
electric lanterns were becoming more and more common.  
SOLD.
This Dressel is unknown age.   It has a clear globe.   Interestingly, it appears to have had a railroad mark at one point that was destroyed later.   Why this would be done is anyone's
guess.    The mark appears to have been a two letter mark and may possibly have started with a K, but not sure.
Dressel - Railroad markings destroyed
This Dressel is unknown age.   It has a clear globe.   Interestingly, it appears to have had a railroad mark at one point that was destroyed later.   Why this would be done is anyone's
guess.    The mark appears to have been a two letter mark and may possibly have started with a K, but not sure.  
Given away to friend.
Dressel - Railroad markings destroyed
Dressel - New York City Subway
This Dressel is unknown age.   It has a clear globe.   It's marked for the New York City Subway.  SOLD
Dressel - D&RGWRR marked
This Dressel is unknown age.  It has a red unmarked globe and is really cool in that it's marked for the Durango & Rio Grand Western Railroad.   Lanterns marked for this line are fairly
desirable and somewhat rare.
Dressel - New York City Subway
This Dressel is unknown age.  Marked for the New York City Subway with a red globe  0060 0017  SOLD.
Dressel - Pennsylvania Railroad
This is a Dressel marked for the Pennsylvania Railroad.   It appears to be a later model Dressel as it's well plated, with few belmishes.  Also, the globe retainer spring is entirely plated
and well made.  It also appears to be entirely unfired as the burner appeared brand new.   This one most likey purchased by a railroad in the 1950s or 60s as a back up lantern and
stored for years unused.  0045 0016
SOLD.