TeriAnn's Guide to Aladdin and other brands of kerosene Mantle Lamps

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Canchester Mantle Lamps

Canchester lamp
No. 123 table lamp

The Canchester lamp company of Chicago Illinois is often thought of as an Aladdin competitor. However, the beginnings of Canchester predates the founding of Aladdin by a couple years. 

David J. Canchester was president and general manager of the Canchester Incandescent Kerosene Light and Heat company of Chicago Ill. According to early records the company was established as an import and sales company. A Mr Alter was vice president and Mrs Ray F. Cassidy Secretary and treasurer of the company. David Canchester applied for a patent on his incandescent mantle burner on 22 June 1906. The Canchester company contracted with Scovill manufacturing in Waterbury Connecticut to manufacture their burners.

In 1908 the Canchester Incandescent Kerosene Light and Heat company changed its name to the Canchester Light Company. The patent for the Canchester burner was issued on 3 August 1909.

Patent No. 929,752 for the Canchester burner.

According to Illinois Court proceedings Canchester employees made 3 large orders for burners in 1911, two of which were basically duplicates made in error. The duplicate orders were not canceled because the mistake was not noticed until Scovill made delivery of the second order and asked for payment for the second order before delivering the third order. Canchester paid for the first order but did not have the funds to pay for the second and third orders. Canchester owed Scovill $13,670.13 for the second and third orders. They could not raise the money to pay for the extra orders and went into voluntary bankruptcy in January 1912. Scovill of course sued for the money owed them. The Canchester incorporation papers limited officer liability to $5000 which was awarded by the court to Scovill. Scovill appealed and finally on 24 Oct 1916 the Illinois Supreme Court let stand lower court ruling. The end result was a warehouse with three large orders of Canchester burners, new in the box along with a large number of new chimneys. Today it is still common to see new in the box Canchester burners and new wrapped Canchester chimneys come up for sale.

Canchester burner box

Canchester wick adjustment knob


Canchester ring to burn lamp without a mantle
The Canchester burner was designed so that it could be burned with or without a mantle

Here is a partially disassembled Canchester burner showing the inner and outer wick tube assembly and the flame spreader adjustment assembly.

The Liverpool style flame spreader fits onto the pin that is visible in the center opening of the wick tube assembly.   The flame is adjusted by raising and lowering the flame spreader. This regulated the supply of air reaching the flame. The wick is not movable.


Canchester flame spreader riser Canchester riser

The Canchester adjustment knob rotates the arm coupled to the raiser pin. Movement of the arm raises and lowers the pin on which the flame spreader sits. The flame is supposed to be properly adjusted for use with a mantle the the two arrows on the adjustment shaft are lined up.

The photo on the right shows the upper support of the riser pin. Below is the flame spreader.


Canchester flame spreader

Canchester riser pin

Insulated top of Canchester outer wick tube
Insulated removable top of the Canchester outer wick tube.

This picture shows a side view of an assembled Canchester burner.

CANCHESTER is stamped into the side of the burner.

The burner measures 3-1/2" long and about 2-1/2" wide at the gallery.  The threads fit a standard #2 collar.

Here are pictures of a new old stock Canchester chimney.  The bottom is fitted with protective material.  

The chimney logo near the top is a circle with "CANCHESTER"  as shown in the picture to the right. The chimney is 13.5 inches tall.

Canchester antle frame

The Canchester mantle seems to be unique to the lamp though the general shape is that of the standard gas lamp mantle.  As you can see from the picture on the left the weave of the mantle bag appears to be looser than is common or the thread size thinner.  This is presumably to provide  greater air velocity through the burner . 

The shape of the Canchester chimney makes more sense when mounted on a burner that has a mantle frame attached. The lower wider part allows airflow through the mantle then the narrower upper section creates a venturi affect speeding up the flow of air to bring more fresh air to the mantle.

There appears not to have been many or any mantles among the lamp parts left when the company went out of business. A lack of mantles may be the primary reason these lamps seemed to quickly disappear from homes and why the large stock of new burners and chimneys remained unused.


Cachester chimney over a Canchester mantle frame

TOP: New Canchester wick mounted into a burner base.  An interesting feature is that the wick is not adjustable in the assembled burner. Instead the amount of air flow is regulated by adjusting the flame spreader.

RIGHT: The printed label comes in red or blue

Canchester wick labels

Canchester burners have been found on more than one style of lamp font

Canchester burner on a table font manufactured by Manhattan Brass Co.

Canchester burner on a font manufactured by Manhattan Brass sold by Canchester as
their No. 09 Parlor Lamp. Below is an ad for the lamp.

Canchester table lamp

Canchester lamp catalog page
Click on the above catalg page for a larger view


Canchester 1911 ad
Dun's Review, sept 1911

Canchester advertisement
Popular Mechanics Oct 1911


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