Posted 7 years ago
This is a tin KODAK safe-light powered by a kerosene lamp. Safe-lights were/are used in B&W darkrooms. They allow a very dim amount of light in the red or yellow spectrum that allows the dark-adjusted eye to see what's going on but doesn't affect the paper emulsion when processing photos in chemical-filled trays. Both the yellow and red glass filters are still intact and fit into slots accessible by a hatch on the top of the unit (just in front of the chimney). The red filter is thicker and darker than the yellow one.
There are times you don't want a safe-light - during focusing with the enlarger and anytime you're handling undeveloped film - so there's a metal flap that allows the light to be turned "off" (covered) without needing to extinguish the flame.
I "inherited" this from the widow of a former photographer colleague back in the days when I had a photo lab and did photo retouching/restoration and archival B&W work.
I'm not sure of the age of this item, but presumably it predates the electric light, or perhaps was used in field operations where electricity wasn't available. Online references tend to date it in the 1890s. The wick in the lamp base is still there and looks like it would still be useable.
The only writing on the entire item (other than KODAK on the flap) is on the face of the wick adjuster knob: The P&A Mfg. Co. Made in U.S.A.
The writing on the original box reads: No. 2 Kodak Dark Room Lamp; Canadian Kodak Co., Limited, Toronto, Canada; Made in U.S.A.
The dimensions are 4.25"wide/deep and 8.75" tall.