But now imagine it’s 1863. The Civil War is still going on. Our soldiers are out on the fields scared, lonely and in the dark. No flashlights or electrical hook-ups on this campground. In fact, the first light bulb won’t be invented for another sixteen years. Their main source for light besides a campfire, would be a lantern such the one made here.
There is nothing fancy about this lantern. It doesn’t get fueled by propane or kerosene. It’s good old fashioned candle light that’s the source on this lantern.The construction of this lantern is fairly straightforward. It’s a simple design, however good measuring comes into play. It starts with the glass. My glasses pieces were 4” x 9’’. Then I cut the posts which were ¾” x ¾” x 9 1/16”. I made the post slightly taller than the glass to allow a little bit more air flow into the lantern. The posts have a table saw kerf cut lengthwise into them which allows the single pane glass to fit nicely between them.
The top and bottom plates had to be measured and drilled exactly so the screw connecting the top and bottom plates to the posts did not interfere with the glass. I recessed the screws and covered them with dowel plugs. The top plate has a ¼” wide slot cut into it to allow one of the panes of glass to be lifted out. This is to allow the candle to be replaced when too low.
The top also has a 1 ⅜” and ¼” hole drilled through it. The ¼” hole is so the dowel rod can slide in it. The dowel rod is then connected to a small piece that is notched and guides itself along the posts. As you pull the dowel rod up and the candle is lifted through the 1 ⅜” hole to make it easy to light the wick.
A small piece of brass is also bent and placed over the hole on top to help deflect heat from the candle flame when carrying the lantern. And lastly, the handle is just a simple coat hanger bent and attached with screws on the side.
The lantern is charming to have and fairly easy to make. Most of all when the lights do go out, I can light this baby and still keep dancin’ in the dark!
Go Dance now People!