Milwaukee M18 Lantern Flood Light 2363-20: A Brief History
The Milwaukee M18 lantern was manufactured from 1873 to 1914. It was produced by the American company Milburn & Company, which later became part of the American Lighting Corporation (ALC). ALC was founded in New York City in 1882 and by 1912 had become one of the largest manufacturers of lighting products in America. ALC’s first product was the “Milburn” electric street lamp.
Later they introduced the “Milburn Electric Street Lamp,” which used a mercury vapor bulb. They also developed other lamps such as the “Mildred” gaslight, and the “Spencer” incandescent lamp.
In 1915, ALC purchased the Milwaukee Electrical Light Co., which had been manufacturing street lights since 1868. The Milwaukee Electrical Light Co. was a leading manufacturer of streetlights and streetlamps in Wisconsin.
By 1916, ALC had sold its assets to General Electric, Incorporated. In 1917, ALC merged with GE to form the American Lighting & Power Company (ALPCO), which continued to manufacture and sell lighting products until it was acquired by Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1921.
The American Lighting Corporation (ALC) was a manufacturer of lighting products, which was incorporated in New York in 1912. In 1915, ALC purchased the “Milwaukee Electric Light Company” and continued to manufacture and sell lighting products under the name of “General Electric, Inc.” By 1917, General Electric had become a leading supplier of incandescent lamps, tungsten filament lamps, and Mazda (mercury) vapor lamps. General Electric was also a major manufacturer of flood lighting, high pressure sodium lamps, and mercury vapor lamps.
In 1920, an improved version of the mercury vapor lamp was introduced by General Electric under the name “Mazda.”
The history of the lighting manufacturing industry in the United States is one of start-ups and acquisitions. For example, in 1881, the Brush Electric Light Company (founded in Cleveland) partnered with Edison to manufacture incandescent lamps. In 1883, Westinghouse acquired the Scott Electric Light Company. In 1890, General Electric acquired rights to the Edison lamp.
In 1892, General Electric acquired the Consolidated Electric Light Company. In 1904, Westinghouse acquired Pittsburg Electric Company. And a year later in 1905, General Electric acquired Consolidated Gas Company’s lighting business.
In 1912, the American Lighting Corporation was incorporated in New York. The new company included the “Brush Electric Light Company,” “Pittsburg Electric Company,” “Sylvania Electric Products Company,” and the “Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company.” In 1917, “The American Lighting Corporation” was renamed “General Electric.”
Today, General Electric is one of the largest manufacturers of lighting products in the world, including fixtures and bulbs. The company markets its products under the brand names “Edison”, “Halo”, “Osram”, “Quasar”, “Kencove”, and “Niko”.
The “Sylvania Electric Products Company” was incorporated in 1897. In 1912, the company merged with “Brush Electric Company” to become the “Brush-Sylvania Company.” In 1916, “Brush-Sylvania” merged with “Pittsburg Electric Company” and became the “Brush-Sylvania Company of Pittsburg.”
In 1927, the company was again renamed as the “Sylvania Electric Company.” In 1929, the company was acquired and reorganized by General Motors Corporation and became part of the “Westinghouse Electric Corporation.” In 1930, Westinghouse acquired “Kodak,” a major supplier of flashbulbs. In 1936, Westinghouse was renamed as the “Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
During World War II, Westinghouse supplied lighting equipment for the war effort. After the war, the company began manufacturing fluorescent tubes. In 1959, the Westinghouse Lighting Corporation was formed as a separate division. In 1985, the Westinghouse Corporation sold its lighting division to the British engineering firm, GEC, which later renamed it as the “General Electric Company.”
In 1995, GEC acquired “MMI Systems Corporation,” a manufacturer of electronic ballasts.
In 2000, GEC was acquired by the American company, “General Electric Company.” Today, the lighting manufacturing divisions of GEC and Westinghouse are now part of a new company called “GE Lighting.”
During the 1990s, changes began to occur in the lighting industry. In 1991, Philips Lighting N.V. acquired the “Insight Lighting Corporation.” The name of the company was later changed to “Philips Enlightment.” In 1998, the company acquired “CompX-Lite,” which manufactured electronic ballasts.
In addition, during the 1990s, manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs faced new challenges from manufacturers of light emitting diode (LED) lighting and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
Although light emitting diodes have been around for over a century, their application had been limited due to high manufacturing costs. However, during the 1980s, advances in wide-field heterostructure technology and optical device packaging made it possible to build high-power LEDs for the first time. By the 1990s, manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs were experimenting with light emitting diodes as an alternative for their compact fluorescent lamps.
By the year 2000, LEDs were becoming more popular in consumer electronics devices such as laptops, digital cameras, and cellular phones. It was only a matter of time before LEDs would be developed for general lighting purposes. In fact, innovations in LEDs were occurring so rapidly that they began to replace compact fluorescent lamps in many applications.
In the year 2000, the “Environmental Protection Agency” (EPA) announced new stricter regulations for incandescent light bulbs. Under the new rules, the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs would be banned unless their manufactures install additional efficiency-improving features.
In the year 2007, the “Congress of the United States” banned the manufacture and sale of 75 and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs as of January 1, 2012. The manufacture and sale of 60 and 75-watt incandescent light bulbs were banned as of January 1, 2014. By 2020, the manufacture and sale of all traditional 40 and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs will be banned.
In the year 2011, Philips Lighting N.V. acquired the “Impact Lighting Corporation”, which manufactures LED-based luminaires.
By the year 2020, traditional incandescent light bulbs will be replaced with newer more efficient lighting technologies. As a result, the lighting industry will enter a new era.
In 1891, the “General Electric Company” hired “Edwin J. Hoag” (1869-1944) as an engineer. In 1892, he was transferred to the company’s electrical testing laboratory. Hoag’s job was to test new designs for incandescent light bulbs.
During his career at “General Electric,” Hoag held over 20 patents. Some of his more important inventions were a miner’s safety lamp, a closed circuit television, and a method for storing energy in large electric plants (Hoag was issued U.S. Patent No. 768671 in 1904).
Edwin Hoag is also known for his work with “Theodore H. Ewen” (1873-1949), a chemist who experimented with gases to find the most suitable materials (called a getter) to remove trace amounts of impurities from inside incandescent light bulbs. In 1890, Ewen was hired by “Charles P. Steinmetz” (1865-1923), a German-born American mathematician, to be an assistant at the “General Electric Research Laboratory”.
There he was put in charge of the investigation of the properties of various gases.
Ewen had read a paper before the “Kierling Club” in Vienna, Austria about an experiment he had done with a device called a “getter” (a combination of two chemicals) to remove trace amounts of impurities from inside sealed glass tubes that contained low-pressure gases. In the experiment, Ewen used a glass tube that was filled with hydrochloric acid and silver, which was heated by an electric current. When the getter had done its work, it turned from silver to black.
In 1902, Ewen and Hoag built a vacuum bulb with a sodium-filled getter electrode sealed inside the lower part of the bulb. This device proved to be a great improvement over similar devices made by other inventors. It lasted almost three months (which was much longer than earlier bulbs) and it also produced a much brighter light.
In 1908, Ewen and Hoag designed and built a new kind of incandescent lamp. Instead of using a solid carbon rod like most incandescent lights, they used a hollow carbon rod (a method first patented by “Henry Holton” (1849-1936) in 1880). They also included a tiny piece of magnesium metal in the center of the hollow carbon rod.
The magnesium burned away as the lamp was used, but it increased the intensity of the glow. (Magnesium is an extremely bright white-hot metal that can be easily ignited by a flame and will burn rapidly in air). Unfortunately, magnesium was very expensive, and as a result this design was not mass-produced.
In 1915, Hoag invented a “coiled carbon” lamp that was said to be ten times as bright as an ordinary carbon filament lamp.
Ewen and Hoag also experimented with various gases. In a 1913 experiment, they used a gas called “neon” (a rare inert element that makes up about 0.0018% of the air). This invention resulted in a slight increase in brightness.
In 1932, Ewen and Hoag finally developed a long-lasting light bulb using a metal called “neodymium” as a filter (it removes the short wavelengths of light that cause a glow, and reflects the longer wavelengths that create white light). This light bulb was very bright, but it was very expensive to manufacture. Similar methods are still used in manufacturing fluorescent lamps today.
The “Edison Effect” was an important discovery in the development of the light bulb. It eventually resulted in the invention of the light-emitting diode (or LED), used in many digital clocks, instruments, signs, etc. It also led to the invention of the transistor, which is an important part of all modern electronics.
In addition, the work of Ewen and Hoag directly led to the invention of the tungsten filament lamp in 1902. This was probably the most common light bulb in use until it was replaced by the “Fluorescent lamp” in the 1930s.
The “neon” lamp that Ewen and Hoag developed was used to create coloured light. In these lamps, a small piece of phosphor is placed inside a container along with the neon gas. Electricity passing through the gas makes the neon glow, and the container gives off a colour depending on the type of phosphor placed inside.
As an example, red light is made by placing a small amount of phosphor (which glows red) inside the container. Blue light requires a different kind of red phosphor. Green light requires yellow and blue phosphors; and so on.
Today, “neon” lamps are very popular for creating special signs and as display lighting in bars and restaurants.
To celebrate the work of Ewen and Hoag, a town near the General Electric factory in Bridgeport (Connecticut) was named “Hoagland”. There should be a street there named after Elihu Thomson, but I’ve never seen one. In 1916, the General Electric Company built a hotel in the town of Hoagland. It was originally called the Hotel Edicott, but was later renamed the Hoagland Inn.
The hotel was closed in the late 1960s, and has since been vacant.
Please Note: For those of you who wish to visit the town of Hoagland, all of the information (including map links) can be found here.
At present, there are Hoagland streets in several locations in the United States. The U.S. Patent Office lists a Samuel Hoagland who lived from 1680-1750, so it is possible that all these Hoaglands are named after this man.
Samuel Hoagland lived in New Jersey, and he was granted a patent for a method of making potash in 1721. The word “potash” comes from the word “potassium”, which is an element (like magnesium) that is used in making glass and ceramics. Samual Hoagland’s son, Aaron, also lived in New Jersey. He was granted a U.S.
patent for an improvement in potash manufacture in 1797.
Samuel Hoagland was also the name of a renowned chemist who lived from 1751-1823. He was British, and is known for his early work in determining the chemical composition of Uranium oxide (which he called “uranite”).
There is also a Hoagland Road in the state of Washington near the town of Auburn. The town was named after George R. Hoagland, a member of the party that explored the region in 1852.
The first major discovery of gold in California in 1848 triggered the “Gold Rush”, and by 1852, 49ers (as the miners were called) were traveling across Nevada on their way to the goldfields.
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