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Feuerhand Lanterns - The Story

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The Feuerhand story begins in the 1870s in the Saxon Ore Mountains in Eastern Germany. Here, Hermann Nier, operating out of a small silverware workshop, made miners lamps and household lanterns. As industrialisation spread, Harmann and his brother Ernst established a dedicated factory to produce kerosene lanterns. Later generations of the Neir family continued to run the Neir Feuerhand Company, eventually becoming the world biggest lantern producer in the 1930s.

Feuerhand Lantern NZFeuerhand storm lanternsPhoto: feuerhand.info

Operations were however interrupted with the outbreak of World War II and stopped completely towards the end of the war due to a lack of available materials and the approaching Russian army. With the split of Germany, all production equipment was taken by the Soviet Union and the Nier family fled to West Germany. 

After a few years, the family was able to re-establish the factory in the west and continue production of its iconic Feuerhand Baby Special 276 Lantern. Collectors of Feuerhand lanterns can easily distinguish pre-war lanterns, as they were all stamped “Made in Germany” but all post-war lanterns are stamped with “W.Germany”. This has continued even after reunification.

 The Baby Special 276

Originally patented in 1934, Feuerhand’s most iconic lantern is the Feuerhand Baby Special 276. Since 1989, the popular and functional design became the only hurricane lantern that Feuerhand produces. It is a smaller lantern at only 25.5cm but it's extremely long-lasting with a 20 hour burn time per tank. Being a cold blast lantern, it is not only more efficient but also a lot brighter than other designs.

Feuerhand Lanterns New Zealand

Cold Blast, Hot Blast or Dead Flame

During the 1800s, traditional dead flame lanterns were improved on to create hot blast lanterns which in turn led to the development of the now more common, cold blast lanterns. 

A dead flame lantern simply draws fresh air from below the flame and expels the exhaust straight out the top. A hot blast lantern instead retains the exhaust which gets mixed with fresh air and cycled down through the side tubes. At the base of the lantern, the exhaust and fresh air is mixed with the kerosene vapour to create a burning mixture. This creates a better combustion and brighter, cleaner light. A cold blast lantern uses a slightly more complicated design to expel the exhaust out of the top of the lantern while sucking in only fresh cold air to travel down the tubes to mix at the base of the lantern. This results in an even more efficient and brighter burn than the hot blast design.

 

Feuerhand lantern range

Sources:

1.'Feuerhand Sturmlaternen' - Dr. phil. Detlef Bunk

2. 'History of the Feuerhand Storm lanterns from Beierfeld' Feuerhand.info

3. 'Feuerhand Quality Since 1983' Feuerhand.de