Lantern Keys

There have been quite a few people that have asked on the Traffic Gard Message Board about a key for turning the wick adjuster on some lanterns. One suggestion given is to flatten a piece of tubing, which is probably the quickest way to get you going. I will try to give you directions on how I made mine.


 Here is one example that was borrowed from another source. (gav's site) This is the style that is in the Handlan lantern.



This is a shot of the before and after of what I came up with which can be used on the Traffic Gard as well as the Handlan lanterns.


 I started out with a 5/16-18 x 2 thumbscrew (approx. 2 5/8 inches overall length). I put the threaded end in a drill just far enough to tighten it down securely and using a bench grinder along with the drill (grinder and drill turning opposite directions) I ground the threads off of the exposed area of the screw. Smooth the ground area with a file or sandpaper if needed. Remove the thumbscrew from the drill and cut the end of the screw off. You should have approximately 1 ¾ to 1 7/8 overall length left. Next drill a 1/8 inch hole in the end of the screw approximately 3/8 inch deep. This hole will be used for the Handlan burners.


 Then cut a slot across the end of the screw approximately 1/16 inch wide and 1/8 inch deep. Even if you are a little off center with your hole and slot as mine was, it will work just fine. Sand or file any rough edges and if you want to use the key on a key ring of some sort, drill a hole in the thumb part of the key as shown in the picture (above right).

This might seem to be a lot of work for a key but I found it to be a nice gift for friends that I have gotten interested in the hobby and for a couple of friends that got me involved in this never ending learning experience of lantern collecting.

I have played around with other possibilities on keys but this one seems to work the best. If you come up with other variations of a key to use on both the Handlan and Dietz burners please e-mail me  with pictures and I will try to include them on this page also.

dietzkey The photo to the left shows an original Dietz key that Woody was able to obtain. It is approximately 2 1/16” long and 1/2” wide. It is good to now know what to be looking for when scrounging through boxes of various types of keys or through miscellaneous other “junk”. Keep your eyes open for items that are this small and you might get lucky and find one. Mine are definitely wide open.

burnerkeyHere is a new production key from Woody at that will work well without having to make something yourself. It is made in the U.S.A. of .060” nickel plated steel. 

Happy Collecting,

Darrell Collins
Thomasville, Ga.