Antique Railroad Lanterns
Antique Railroad Lanterns are original lanterns used by railroad workers during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Brief history and description

Railroad lanterns are considered to be highly collectible today, not only because they are no longer mass-produced as they once were during the 1800s and early 1900s, but also because they served an important purpose of aiding transportation and trade between regions and countries.

Some of the many types and styles of railroad lanterns include a fixed-globe lantern (which was the earliest style of railroad lanterns and were commonly produced in the northeastern United States), tall-globe lanterns, (which were used up until the first World War, and usually feature the name of a former Railroad company), and short-globe lanterns (which were produced after World War I and up until the 1970s).

Railroad lanterns typically have a wire guard or cage, a base, a glass globe to protect the light, and a chimney.

Guide for collectors

Antique Adlake railroad lanterns are considered to be the most rare and valuable. Antique railroad lanterns that have not been restored and still contain all of their original features are also considered to be rare.

Restoration of an antique railroad lantern is recommended, but only if there is noticeable damage. However, restoring an antique railroad lantern may reduce its value.

For more information regarding antique railroad lanterns, visit Railroadiana Online.


Antique railroad lanterns

Desert West Auction Service in Mimbres, New Mexico sold an antique railroad lantern with four lenses (two blue and two amber) for $110 in November of 2007.

Antique Adlake railroad lanterns are worth around $160.

Brass railroad lanterns

Great Gatsby's Antiques and Auctions in Atlanta, Georgia sold a lot of three brass railroad lanterns (circa early 20th century) for $150 in December of 2010.

Dressel railroad lanterns

Antique Dressel railroad lanterns are worth around $175.

Dietz Vesta railroad lanterns

Dietz Vesta New York Central Lines railroad lanterns are worth around $100, however, Central Street Antiques and Auction in Windsor, Connecticut sold a lot of three Dietz Vesta New York railroad lanterns for $130 in January of 2012.

See also

Main article: Trains and railroads

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