Adams & Westlake "Reliable" Lanterns
The most popular and common of the tall lantern models, Adams & Westlake's
Reliable lantern was manufactured from around 1912 to sometime in the
mid 1920's, although precise dates when production ceased are uncertain.
Many railroads are known to have bought Reliables, ranging from the big
Class I's like the Pennsylvania Railroad to smaller interurbans.
Reliables are found in numerous variations. Probably the most common
variation is the type of top or smoke
dome. A "one piece" top or smoke dome (formed of one piece
of stamped metal - shown at right) was the earlier type, being
manufactured exclusively up to about 1920. After that according to Cunningham,
Reliables were made with either a "one-piece" or a "three-piece" top
(formed of three joined pieces - shown at bottom right). Why the manufacturer
would offer both styles at the same time is unknown. However, the "three-piece" top
was later incorporated into the design of the #200 and #250 short globe
models which were effectively the successors to the Reliable in the A&W
line of railroad lanterns. Examples can be seen on the "A&W
Short Lantern" page.
Many other variations in Reliables can be found, including the number
of horizontals (one
or two), shape of the verticals (flat
plate "steel guard" or round wire), the type of base (wire
bottom or bellbottom), and other features such as the type of bail and
the use of a metal band to hold the verticals to the bottom of the
frame. Some examples of these variations are shown below.
See new pictures of a variation at the bottom of the page.
|Above Left: A&W #11
Wire Guard "Reliable" (Model 1913) lantern marked "P.& L.E.
R.R." (Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad) with a "one
piece top" and a blue etched globe. This example dates
to the late "teens" or early 1920's. Above Right: A&W
#11 Wire Guard" Reliable" (Model 1913) lantern marked "B. & O.
RR" (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad) with a "three
piece top" and a red cast globe. This model was produced
in the early 1920's.
|Above Left: A&W #11
Wire Guard "Reliable" (Model 1913) lantern marked "K.V.Ry. " (Kettle
Valley Railway) with a "one piece top" and a green
cast globe marked "CPR" for the Canadian Pacific Railway,
which purchased the Kettle Valley Railway. This model is unusual
in a number of respects, including the flat verticals, bail stiffeners,
and the fount-holder which uses an interwoven metal band to secure
the fount holder to the verticals (Above Right, Top). The use of
such metal bands is more common in Adams & Westlake's "The
Adams" model, seen on another page. Above Right,
Bottom: Another minor variation in the fount holder of a
Reliable is this example which seems to be made of two pieces. Note
the border where the two pieces are joined. Almost all fount holders
on Reliables are made of a single formed piece of sheet metal but
this one is an exception. The frame is marked "O.W.R.R.& N.
Co." for the Oregon Washington Railroad & Navigation Company.
|Above Left: This
switchmen's lantern uses a Reliable top of the "one-piece top" variety.
The frame is not marked for a specific railroad. It seems that Adams & Westlake
used the same Reliable tooling to produce tops for their switchmen's
lanterns. The general style of switchman
lanterns is discussed on another page. Above Right: Reliables
marked for the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad or "Santa
Fe" can be found without any manufacturer's or model markings. It
seems that the Santa Fe ordered lanterns from the Adams & Westlake
Company but specified that only the railroad marking should appear
on the frame. This example -- a bellbottom lantern of Adams & Westlake
lineage but with no marking other than "Santa Fe" on the
bell -- has a "three-piece top." Although not apparent
in the picture, this lantern also has a clear cast Santa Fe "logo" globe. Compare
this lantern with rightmost Reliable model shown in the first row
of images, and the origin is obvious.
|Above: Shown above is a very unusual Reliable variation marked for the Philadelphia & Reading Railway. It takes a 6-inch globe. From left to right, top row: The P&R Ry lantern next to a Pennsylvania Lines Reliable to illustrate the height difference; an exterior view of the oversized font-holder; a view of the smoke dome and shoulder to confirm that this is indeed a Reliable. From left to right, bottom row: a view of how the fount sits inside the fount holder; a view of the spring clips inside of the fount holder which centers and stabilize the fount; a view of the bottom of the lantern. All photos courtesy of Jack Wall.