Wicks, burners, and oil:
The earliest dead-flame traffic lanterns appear to share a regular railroad-type 5/8" wick Convex burner with one exception, rather than being threaded these burners were "slip" or friction-fit into the fount. Perhaps the first derivation was the 1/4" wick long-time burner used in the Luck-E-Lite which then found their way into the Traffic Gard with a more appropriate combustion chamber. The Night Watch appears to use a similar burner with 3/8" flat wick. Embury/Dietz used a steel burner; Handlan's is brass. Eventually the Traffic Gard also ended up with the flat wick burner.
The following are Embury's maintenance instructions for the models (before and after).
This first version is probably from the early 1940s. Note the "welded ring" is mentioned but the "flame sight" isn't.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPERATING
1. Filling with Oil
Set lantern in vertical position. Then fill
fount up to bottom level of filler opening,
as shown by sketch at left.
2. Fuel and Burning Time
Use only kerosene oil. Traffic-Gard fount
holds slightly more than a pint, when proper-
ly filled. When wick is adjusted as described
below, one filling will burn over 100 hours.
3. Lighting and Adjusting Flame
To open: press dome down - release latch -
lift dome. Adjust wick to project not more
than 1/8 inch above wick tube. Stick match
down into globe and light.
4. Trimming the Wick
Before relighting, always trim wick by knock-
ing off any loose or crusted carbon with a
5. Placing or Hanging Lantern
Traffic Gard's exclusive bail design makes it
easy to hang or suspend lantern in upright
position, from almost any angle. Bail end is
a welded ring which can be nailed to a barri-
cade, locked on a steel stake with a set screw,
or fastened in many ways to suit the user's
Wide base and a low center of gravity permit
Traffic-Gards to be set almost anywhere without
tipping. Shape of base allows the lantern to
be clamped into metal standards (silent police-
men), for use in traffic lanes.
6. Burner Removal and Replacement
Traffic Gard's burner fits snugly. If it
doesn't yield to hand pressure, don't try to
pull it out by main force. Loosen from base
with a screw driver, and burner will come out
easily. When you replace the burner, take
care to seat unit as far down as it will go,
making sure stem is properly positioned in
7. Globe is Fresnel Lens
Our No. 40R globe is molded from genuine ruby
well-tempered glass, expressly made for service
in Traffic-Gard lanterns.
This fresnel lens magnifies and elongates the
lantern's flame to a far-reaching beam. So
be sure to look at flame through top of globe,
when making wick adjustment.
8. Cleaning the Lantern
Air holes in base, dome and burner must be
kept open and free from dirt. We suggest
cleaning frame occasionally with compressed
Globe should be cleaned inside and out. Al-
ways remember, a clean lantern gives the best
The following version is c. 1950:
DIRECTIONS FOR USING EMBURY TRAFFIC GARD LANTERNS
1) TO FILL: Unscrew cap, fill fount up to
bottom of filler opening. Use only
2) TO TRIM WICK: Before relighting, al-
ways remove the charred crust on top
of wick by pinching it off.
3) TO LIGHT: Press down on dome, rel-
ease catch, lift dome.
4) TO ADJUST WICK: Turn burner stem
so wick shows through 1/8 inch - no
more. See Figure 1. This will make a
normal flame that will not smoke. See
NEW GLOBE WITH FLAME SIGHT: Look
through hole that shows flame actual
size. Adjust it to 3/4 inch height- no
(If flame seems small, remember the
fresnel lens magnifies the light into a
5) TO REMOVE BURNER: Loosen around
edge with screw driver. Don't force.
To replace burner, press it down as
far as it will go, with stem in slot.
6) TO CLEAN: Blow all parts free of dirt
of carbon with compressed air; or
clean with a rag. Wash globe.
Recent tests have been performed regarding wicks and oil. And what are you going to use to light that wick?