Lighthouse Lamp Manufacturers and Designers

The Actual Manufacturers of Lighthouse Lamps for the English, Irish, French and American Lighthouse Authorities

Some lighthouse lamps were made by the major lens factories themselves, but especially early in the design cycle, the major French makers went to outside lamp makers for their lighthouse lamps.  This short paper is an attempt to record who these early lamp makers were and which companies they supplied.

One of the earliest lamp makers was Monsieur Benard Henry Wagner who built the, Fresnel-Arago designed, first lighthouse lamps used within lenses.  Monsieur Wagner worked in the period from about 1819 through 1838 supplying lamps directly to François Soleil.  Wagner also built the first clockwork lens rotation machinery for Fresnel, which was replaced by a superior design of Henry-Lepaute in 1825.

Monsieur Blazy Jallifier was a French lamp maker who supplied lamps to Jean Jacque François, Theodore Létourneau and later to Henry-Lepaute.  Blazy Jallifier worked in the period from about 1838 to 1860.

James De Ville was a lamp maker on the Strand in London.  His company made lamps for Wilkins and Chance Brothers from about 1850 to 1870.  Chance Brothers made their own ‘Pressure Lamps’ as well as ‘IOV Lamps’ in the later years 1870 to 1920.  A company named Simpson also made lamps for Trinity House in the 1855 to 1870 timeframe.

John Frederick Cooke Farquhar designed and produced lighthouse lamps for Louis Sautter during the years of about 1865 through 1880.  Farquhar was a designer and manager for Wilkins in England and produced lighthouse lamps that were sold by Wilkins and may have been used in the early Chance Brothers lenses.  Wilkins was owned by William Crane Wilkins of 24 Long Acre Street London.  Farquhar later moved to France and designed lamps for H. Luchaire.  Still later Farquhar moved to Australia.

Monsieur H. Luchaire designed, with Farquhar’s help, and produced lighthouse lamps for Louis Sautter and Barbier and was the major manufacturer of the Incandescent Oil Vapor (I.O.V.) lamps used in America.  Luchaire and his son produced lighthouse lamps from about 1890 to 1915.

In Ireland Edmundson’s made lamps designed by John Wigham and used by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.