Back to Keepers Tools USLHS Brassware

Oil Drip Pans were used to fill lanterns or small cans. Any oil spilling of over flowing would be captured in the pan and then reused by pouring it back into a larger distribution can. The lid is removable and small handles are attached to the top of the pan allowing you to pick it out of the tray. Small lips under the pan are used to keep the oil pouring out of one area.

Just like every other item used by the lighthouse service all brass ware was stamped or had official plates affixed to them similar to the one above. Once the Lighthouse Establishment was turned into the Lighthouse Service then all items were marked or stamped USLHS.

Large Oil Measure. Used to measure out oil in quarts which are marked on the side of the can and also by the rings.

Brass oil cans were a must for every lighthouse in the early days when whale oil and then kerosene was used to light the flame so the light could be seen out to sea. Most brass items were made by the lighthouse service but some were purchased from outside vendors which the lighthouse depot would affix a small tag to designate it as a lighthouse service item. All lighthouse service items were marked or stamped to designate they were for the service and were property of the government.

Other brass items were made such as dustpans and household lanterns. Although not every brass item is contained here this is a good representation of some of the items that would typically deal with care and maintenance of the light, transporting oil or cleaning and polishing items. Each lighthouse would have been issued a whole slew of brass items as standard equipment. We do not have an official issue list but from the Annual Property returns we can guess as to what a typical lighthouse was issued.

Some items seen may have several different sizes available depending on how big the station was and how much care the light needed. For instance a couple of small oil measuring cups may have been used at a harbor station while at a sea coast light several small and larger ones may have been used to fill the household lanterns and the beacon lamp.

Lightkeepers were required to keep a clean and tight place and so brass was polished frequently to make sure it looked good. Door knobs right along with the brass frame of a Fresnel lens would have been polished to make sure everything was kept in good order for when the inspector showed up. Items would be polished frequently and in many log books it is noted that the lens was polished frequently.

An early unknown type oiler. If anyone has specific information on this particular can please e-mail us.

Lamp Oil Filling Can. Used to fill lamps and lanterns around the house, out buildings and lenses.


Identified as a Rouge Box or Possibly a Small Wick Box. If this was used for rouge, it stored the polish used to polish the brass items. Some have said it is a small wick box for household lanterns. If anyone can verify one way or the other please forward us the information.


Lightkeepers Service Basket. This was used for polishing. Similar to a picnic basket it originally had two clips on the side to hold the cleaning cloths. On the inside is a small square compartment with a lid and a brass triple divided cup.

4th Order oil lantern mounted in a Fourth Order lens on a small brass stand.



Copyright 2001-2005 Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01/06/05