Antique Auto Lite Carbide Miners Lamp Universal Lamp Company in good condition for its age. It measures 3 7/8″ high x 3″ x 2.5″.
The Universal Lamp Company was organized in 1913 by Jacob S. Sherman to produce his Auto-Lite carbide lamps. Sherman first lamp patent was filed in 1914 and awarded as #1,167,942 on Jan. 11, 1916 that would identify the pronounced crown top and concave, urn-shaped design of all Auto-Lite lamp tops for the length of manufacture. By 1918, Sherman had moved the company from Staunton, IL to Chicago. The company continued to expand its product line and in 1933, it purchased the Shanklin Manufacturing Co. and its Springfield, IL plant. An integration of the Auto-Lite and Guy’s Dropper lamp design features soon followed. Jacob S. Sherman was also the founder of the Park Sherman Company in Springfield, IL. The company sold miner’s supplies (miner’s cap lamps, match cases, etc.) and later specialized in things like coin banks and smoking accessories (lighters, cigarette cases, etc). The relationship between Universal Lamp Company and Park Sherman is not altogether clear, but Sherman founded both and operated both. Universal continued to manufacture carbide lamps at the Springfield plant until 1960 when the carbide lamp products were discontinued. Likewise, the Park Sherman Company operated out of Springfield until 1960 when it was sold to a New Jersey company. During the 1913-1960 span of Auto-Lite’s cap lamp life, the company produced at least six top design styles, four bottom styles, six cap mounting hooks, three water valve variations, three different water doors, two gas tube variations, at least nine top markings, and at least seven different bottom markings. That’s a lot of combinations for a cap lamp that maintained its distinctive looks over those 47 years. Although they produced mainly cap lamps, Auto-Lite did manufacture an 8-hour hand lamp marked Big Boy in combinations of brass and steel and with two different bail designs. The Springfield plant of Universal Lamp Co. has claimed that it produced over 9,000,000 carbide lamps during its operations!