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  1. #1
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    Fortress Lantern

    12" tall x 7 1/2" square, copper bodied lantern with brass feet and thick beveled glass windows. Font is mounted on large brass coil. Maker's tag, soldered on, reads; G.POLKEY / C&M / 1901 / BIRMINGHAM. Broadarrowed twice. This has been tentativley identified at one of the lantern collecting sites as a fortress lantern and similar examples have been reported as being seen at the fortress in Malta. This type of lighting could be used even in the gun rooms with separate loading ammunition since being made of only copper and brass it would not create sparks. Also it's air intake and outlet construction does not allow flame to escape or combustables to enter. The burner being mounted on a spring would not have the flame extinguished by the shock of firing. Dated 1901, which is well into the electric light era, this could be a replacement for earlier examples or just as a backup should the electricity fail. This is mostly speculation so I am wondering if any of the members would have more definitive information about fortress lighting or this lantern in particluar. Thanks very much.
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  2. #2
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    Thats a lovely item mate,is this in your own collection?

    cheers

    waff

  3. #3
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    How about contacting these Guys, the date of your object falls right into their period. Great website too, lots of pictures of Victorian Forts etc. Tony. http://www.palmerstonforts.org.uk/index.php
    "Smoke me a kipper, i'll be back for breakfast!"

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by waffenamt View Post
    Thats a lovely item mate,is this in your own collection?

    cheers

    waff
    Was. Needed money. Sold it. Lived to regret it. Could probly get it back but it would take a dear trade. It was a fine piece of work and an acceptable piece of decor unlike most everything else at this site and in my collection. Guests would admire it it instead of averting their eyes like when they'd see an artillery shell or something the cats had coughed up.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by roller63 View Post
    How about contacting these Guys, the date of your object falls right into their period. Great website too, lots of pictures of Victorian Forts etc. Tony. http://www.palmerstonforts.org.uk/index.php
    Thanks for the tip Tony! Excellent site and well worth the tour. They even have a section devoted to lighting. The Polkey lantern is "the New Pattern Fighting Lamp". I'll quote roughly from the site; "Pressure lamp for use in gun casements. A series of pressure plates prevent the lamp being blown out by the concussion of the gun firing."
    Now I'm going back as there is lots to see. ATB Rob
    Last edited by FNG61; 2nd September 2008 at 05:31 AM. Reason: Update the post

  6. #6
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    Polkey Oil Lantern

    I have the same lantern dated 1897, been in the family for years. My grandfather was a doctor and spent some years in Burma, it may have been brought back from there? It's design is slightly different to yours in that the wick can be adjusted from outside the lamp by means of a spring-loaded 'rod' that is pushed onto the internal gear, clever. Also the reflector is mounted on the door and is removable (for polishing, I guess). A beautiful piece of craftsmanship!

    Quote Originally Posted by FNG61 View Post
    12" tall x 7 1/2" square, copper bodied lantern with brass feet and thick beveled glass windows. Font is mounted on large brass coil. Maker's tag, soldered on, reads; G.POLKEY / C&M / 1901 / BIRMINGHAM. Broadarrowed twice. This has been tentativley identified at one of the lantern collecting sites as a fortress lantern and similar examples have been reported as being seen at the fortress in Malta. This type of lighting could be used even in the gun rooms with separate loading ammunition since being made of only copper and brass it would not create sparks. Also it's air intake and outlet construction does not allow flame to escape or combustables to enter. The burner being mounted on a spring would not have the flame extinguished by the shock of firing. Dated 1901, which is well into the electric light era, this could be a replacement for earlier examples or just as a backup should the electricity fail. This is mostly speculation so I am wondering if any of the members would have more definitive information about fortress lighting or this lantern in particluar. Thanks very much.

  7. #7
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    This Coastal Defence Gun Emplacement dates from 1885 (64pdr, Rifled, Muzzle Loading), and a walk around reveals little alcoves in the walls for "Fighting Lanterns". Never knew exactly what they looked like, but presume they would be something similar in that they are spark and flameproof to avoid igniting powder.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 303Gunner; 21st February 2009 at 02:39 PM.

  8. #8
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    Polkey Fighting Lamp on E-bay

    Looks like this same Polkey Fighting Lamp (or a very similar version) is currently listed for sale on e-bay. It appears that this one has been electrified. How scarce are these lamps? Is it worth trying to get, even though it's not complete? Here is the e-bay link:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Antique-Polkey-B...item4153dcb090

  9. #9
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    We have just got in the same lamp - also dated 1897. Was this the only year that they dated them? We are busy attempting to restore it - the gas lamp holder inside is missing. Anyone have any suggestions on where perhaps to find parts ? This one will more than likely become available for sale once it's completed - if we don't opt to keep it ourselves.

  10. #10
    Ordnance Approved
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    and I have finally got my hands on one by G Polkey Birmingham 1901. It is one of six that were destined for disposal in 1961 and were recovered by an Ammo Tech mate of mine (from who i puchased this one). Of the six, i can account for four, possible five. There is one in each of the Logisitic Offrs and Sgts Mess at Bandiana. They are converted to electric and have a flickering flame lamp fitted. The lanterns are only switched on when two or more Ammunition Technical Officers or Ammunition Technicians are present in the repsective messes. Another is held by the Ammo training section at Bandiana and possible another at the Army Museum in Bandiana..
    P1030200.jpg

 

 
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