Handlan-Railfinder "B&O" Lamp

The Handlan-Buck Company was an historical manufacturer of railroad lamps, lanterns, and other hardware. When the railroad market for kerosene-fueled lamps dried up in the 1960's and 1970's, the company attempted to stay in business by manufacturing lamps for the hobbyist market. This was done under the trade name "Railfinders" and seems to have lasted into the early 1990's. See The Handlan-Buck Company's Final Days. Railroadiana collectors are used to seeing these lamps in today's antique market, and such lamps are usually unmarked for any specific railroad.

Recently a collector brought to our attention a lamp marked "B&O RR", a marking that stands for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Given the construction and manufacturer's markings, it is assumed to be a Railfinder lamp. The lamp was purchased in an estate sale, and was configured as a lighting device with a socket, etc. but no shade. It has all the properties of a Railfinder lamp and is made of copper (most conventional railroad lamps were made of sheet steel), but this one has a neatly embossed railroad marking, much like an authentic B&O lamp.

What is unknown is how many other such marked lamps were produced -- possibly with markings of other railroads. It's worth noting that the B&O had an extensive souvenir business associated with its museum in Baltimore. Some of B&O's blue "Centenary" china was produced for this market well after the B&O ceased ordering china for dining car service. Perhaps this lamp belongs to that category. Below are images of this lamp; click the image for a larger version.


Our thanks to Ernest A. for the information and images!