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A Guide to Light Tins

Posted By: lordparaffin

A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 08:41 PM

Well after much debate with myself and preparation I'm finally off and running. Flash back nearly 10 years ago when I bought some of my first auto/petroliana related items, a couple of these tins were among the first purchases I ever made. You may ask why and I can only respond with that they have their charms. In the beginning I wasn't a "specialized" collector as of yet. That's kind of a funny term really.....I consider myself a can collector but I have some globes, a pump in mid restoration, a number of signs, and a various other odds and ends all adding up to a generalized collection. I know many of you can relate to this dilemma. Well, we're getting off track here. As I stated, they have their charms and at the time, their small size was helpful and I liked some of the graphics they offered. I'll admit, they seemed like a very limited potential but as time goes by I keep slowly coming across new one's and Ebay (like it, hate it) has been the biggest source of my aquisitions. As of today the collection now totals 61 pieces with a number of documented pieces that I have yet to attain. Price has always made these attractive as well. Agreed, these are more of a niche collectible so the numbers of collectors are much smaller than the main stream items so prices aren't in the stratosphere realted to supply and demand pressures. Budget minded people can easily put together 20 or so tins and not spend more than a couple hundred. Prices can range from a couple of bucks for average regular pieces to over a hundred for the more limited, in demand tins making for some challenges.

Now the reasons behind my contribution to the hobby. I think it's fair to say that most collectors have one or two of these in their collections but most people don't see these as a serious collectible and for reason. Generally you see the same typical one's time and a again which gives the impression of few choices. After some time looking at these, I began to notice changes in evolutionary graphics as well as the number of different sources for them. I've realized that there is no literature of any kind on them as a resource for collecting. I've noticed ways in which these are sold making them incorrect or dates put to them which is all over the map and nothing that guides people properly without the mistakes that I've made. Let's face it, no matter what level you collect at, spending money on something that is wrong or incorrect puts us all in a foul mood. At some point, I thought it would be neat to compile some kind of history and pictorial giving collectors the knowlege to be better, more focused with their purchases and selections. I always thought this would all converge into a small book or pamphlet but it was never my intention to make any money from such an adventure. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's a number of books on the hobby and their authors deserve credit for a lot of work. I want to make a contribution for all those that have helped me over the years and maybe create more interest in this wonderful hobby of petroliana. So please, if for nothing else, take the time view this little labor of love of mine and learn about something new. I'll gladly entertain any questions and answer them to the best of my ability. I'm not an expert by any means, so I welcome new information which I hope will make this an evolving guide. Any new undocumented tins that you may have even variations, will be welcome additions. I have nearly 200 pictures to put on here for the purpose of thorough documentation and identification which is crucial for any collector to be informed. When I finally reach the end of my initial presentation, I will be asking for individuals to load photos in a section of displays and advertising to which I know there are some truely remarkable items in collections from the current membership. I've never had the means to focus on all these items so I look for help to make this thread truely complete to my original hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

As stated before, I'm not an expert but if have spent a fair amount of time doing research and countless hours searching the web to dead ends trying to piece together a history. What I found was a "backdoor" aproach through the light bulbs themselves was more helpful. I guess packaging was just that....packaging. SO......you piece things together the best way you can. I'll start with a light history/break down and split things up into chapters so to speak to group "like" things together into sections.

My current collection. A picture to break up all the reading and show the potential that I've realized. When I made the shelf unit, I made it thinking I had room to expand to the "maximum". As you can see it's full and I have many others to obtain yet.

Prior to the age of the tins we are talking about, light bulbs were generally found in a stamped steel presentation such as this one by GE National.

Before this, bulbs from across different, or even within manufacturers, were not very universal in terms of light intensity, materials, and manufacturing standards. GE introduced the "MAZDA" bulb or lamp with a patent date of 1909 with the name Mazda chosen in refernce to a god of mythology named Ahuru Mazda, god of light. The mazda bulb was universal for all bulbs made under a new set of standrds developed by GE using a Tungsten filament which was more uniform from light to light. GE introduced a set of manufacturing specifications for the industry to follow thereby "universalizing" the bulb industry. GE licensed these standards to other manufacturers with GE heavily advetising the Mazda brand. The earliest patent dates I find for automobile lights is patent number 1,082,933 Dec. 30, 1913. Remember, this new standard described the base, filament, manufacturing processes and light intensities giving consumers a higher degree of confidence in bulbs for home, office, or auto as long as it was a Mazda name. GE even regulated the use of the Mazda name. If working was descriptive such as Whiter, it was placed in front of Mazda. If it related to bulb use such as auto, then it must follow the Mazda name. When the change to the new tins took place exactly, is something I can't seem to nail to a specific date. I can tell you through the auto industry, evidence suggests that as early as 1929 these tins were in use. Some help from car enthusiasts verify catalog listings from 1932 and dealer listings show 1931 as an available accessory earliest time frame. Basic tool kit accessories show listings until 1949 which is also verified from Harley Davidson enthusiasts showing one kit as a part of a kit pack through the war years. As a conclusion, I always accept 1929 through 1949 as the known high tide of production. There may be a time period before earlier or later they were in production, but this was on the low scale end as the 1950's began the era of the sealed beam head lamp. It is my understanding, that the earliest of these bulbs had a series of rib-like circular shapes out near the top of the bulbs to help concentrate the light toward the reflectors from proper beam alignment. I cannot verify this concretely however.

Sizes of these tins are generally of the samller 3 5/8L x 2 9/16W x 1 3/4H in inches variety. There is a larger sized kit which is 4 1/6 x 2 9/16 x 2 1/4. Among these 2 most common sizes there are also some exceptions.

The 2 basic styles of all square tins to date are hinged or unhinged.

I believe we'll end this section here and I will move on the next section in a day or 2.
Posted By: danlap99

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 08:52 PM

great looking collection !!!!!!
Posted By: advertologist

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:00 PM

amazing.. cool
Posted By: Maps for the memories

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:00 PM

Great posting so far!
Posted By: LOWright

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:06 PM

Interesting! Nice collection…….Here is the only one i have and looks like you already have one in your collection.

Attached picture Packard Bulb Tin.jpg
Posted By: 57tbirdkid

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:28 PM

Thanks for the great pics and info. About 1 year ago at a local swap meet I was able to pick up this paper label light box. I have never seen one before and the vendor said he has been taking it to swap meets for yearts and no one had any interest. I thought it was a great little item and cant see that many of the held up as they are pretty fragile. Here is a pic to add to your great post.
Posted By: blacktee

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:30 PM

I see the Love you have for collecting these, and being an electrician I look forward to your next post.

Thanks Doug
Posted By: oldnfuelish

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:32 PM

Awesome collection,and info!
Posted By: Jack R

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:32 PM

Very nice collection and looking forward to the the rest of your presentation
Posted By: Bob Richards

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 03 2013 09:51 PM

Dave, as you know, I have been waiting for you to do this presentation for a number of years...

I will be saving this thread in my "Bookmarks". And if you ever decide to put forth a pamphlet and/or small booklet, I will be proud to add it to my "reference library"!

I personally thank you for this "history" and for your help in my collecting of these tins and lamps!!!
Posted By: Rust and Dust

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 01:10 AM

As a huge novice in the petro collecting i love this. This is something that id never really thought about. Im a sign gas pump guy. But i think its the niche items in petroliana that make our hobby so interesting. Love it thanks for the info.
Posted By: JimT

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 03:21 AM

Great stuff here Dave. Thanks a lot for freely sharing your knowledge. Looking forward to some more.
Posted By: 1937 GMC

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 03:52 AM

Thank you for taking the time to share your research and knowledge; your passion for the Hobby really shows in your information and collection. Looking forward to the additions that are forth coming.

Thanks again!
Posted By: Dave's Garage

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 05:59 AM

Great information and an awesome collection!!!
Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 05:47 PM

Thanks everyone for the positive words and it's great to hear you're appreciation.

Now moving forward. I showed a picture earlier of tins that don't fit the normal sizes or shapes of the tin sizes already mentioned. The little square Westinghouse tin measures 2 13/16" square x 1 13/16" tall. The Eveready tube is 4 1/2" long x 1 1/2" in dia. while the "glass case" for Eveready is 5 1/4" at it's longest x 2 1/2" wide and 1 1/2" tall. The Osram is a British tin 4 1/16L x 2 7/8"W x 1 13/16"H. I have found markings by all the major tin can manufacturers of the day and even some smaller companies so the measurements given are the closest average sizes +/- 1/16" depending on the style of lid. I generally make my measurements across the bottom edges because these are the most uniform dimensionally from tin to tin. I also should mention that recently I came across another "tube" style tin from another bulb manufacturer but I was not able to attain it and at this point those are measurements that will be left with a question mark. Tung Sol is the company that marketed the tin.

When collecting these tins, I suppose there are 2 methods of madness to collecting. Those of us that are ultimately after completeness and those that aren't concerned with interiors. Either way is just fine. I myself find the challenge of collecting complete tins most interesting to say the least. I place a premium on a complete AND CORRECT tins with interior. After looking at and studying thousands of these, you tend to get a feel for what should be as opposed to what is. I liken this to pump collectors who are archivalists and like complete and whole pumps or quart can collectors who prize full unopened cans of oil. When I mention complete tins, I don't necessarily mean all original or to put it another way, contents and tin have been together since day one. Complete CORRECT tins is the goal. If you restore a pump and need parts from another pump to complete the build it is still a correct pump. Same concept....If I complete a tin with contents from another tin making it correct, this makes for a complete and correct tin. Remember, these tins were kits to be generally carried in the auto to replace bulbs as they blew. The tins themselves took a lot of abuse either in a glove box, under the seat, or where ever in the trunk on the early rough roads of the day. Bulbs got used, new one's were purchased to replace the replacements (not necessarily the same brand of bulb) and these were put into the tins for safe keeping until needed again. So mix and match was common, interior cardboard holders were often lost, many times tins found themselves on shelves with a host of loose bulbs in them or eventually repurposed for any kind of trinkets. Nice little tins with lids had all kinds of useful needs which makes collecting them at all challenging. Pictured below are examples I put together of improper interiors but not limited to. Of late I'm finding people making new sleeves, new inserts which are used to section the interiors and hold the bulb contents in place. Or if they have a case box of bulbs from another brand, they just place whatever brand they have in the tins to make them appear complete.

Most commonly you find mixed branding. Either mixed within the tin as the Westinghouse and GE National example above or completely wrong branding within, not matching the tin branding. People sell these tins all the time expressing that they are "with bulbs" or "complete" and expecting a premium price. In the end it boils down to this. It's about the tin and correctness. The bulbs themselves are secondary. A box of loose bulbs are completely useless to me as a tin collector unless I know someone who needs those bulbs. I will show complete/correct tins later on with each example that I currently have. It's very tough to come up with these tins so piecing together is acceptable. Make sure that bulb themselves are correct if part numbers on the tins are given.....usually this is on tins found with paper labels. A Tung Sol branded tin with Tung Sol branded bulb sleeves and GE bulbs is not correct. Every layer must match hence the reason for a premium on correct tins. Of the total tins in my collection, less than 10 are correct and complete.

CONDITION, Condition , Condtion!!! Like anything else, this is the number one factor in how much I'm willing to spend. Rarity follows and desireability are next in determining value. It is not my intent with this guide to establish a market set of values. Prices on any given day can be all over the map. I will give an idea on expectations by showing a range of prices I have experienced which will include most collectible conditions. I can't stress enough that time and patience are key to putting together a comprehensive collection. I've missed out on tins thinking the condition was less then desireable only to lose the auction and then not see another for several years. The point here is that I'm willing to guide people to make an educated decision on what THEY are willing to pay or sell at but I'm not going to start setting market prices and create disappointments. I've always been a firm believer that homework, and watching what auction prices produce, are the best indicators as to current market values.

As a follow up, these tins were very utilitarian and they age anywhere (in the vast majority of cases) from 60 to 80 years old so time and treatment has not been kind to them creating very few excellent to near perfect examples. This creates the first challenge. Second, if you're after a true challenge, putting together complete/correct tins will be a lifetime of work. That's what keeps me going!!

I'll be showcasing these in groups. Group 1 will be bulb manufacturers. Group 2- (my favorite) auto parts dealers. Group 3- Auto manufacturers.

These tins could be found for sale (back in the day) in any number of places including gas stations, parts stores, and even general merchandise or hardware stores so marketing and display took many forms. We'll start with manufacturers because that was most likely where the tins got their start.

Of course GE started the whole Mazda thing so lets begin there. It's my belief that this was their first tin.

It's not known exactly if all tins were given a paper seal which came with a kit number. Kit numbers represented a specific bulb grouping by part numbers. As of this time, I am aware of kits 1-7 and I've only ever seen #7 once. The most common seem to be on the #3 thru #5 range. I noted on tins with paper labels, some kind of glue or residue usually lasts long enough to indicate it was there at one time. Most of the label may be gone, but the evidence is there. It's my educated guess that not all tins had these paper labels. I have a attempted to put together one complete label grouping with legible numbers from any brand with no success as of yet. You can make yourself a real challenge on this alone. I know the Westinghouse, GE Edison, and National tins all has labels on some of their tins so there's plenty to choose from.
This is the early tin with label #4 with it's correct and I believe all original interior. It is at the very least correct.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 05:56 PM

As you can see this was an unhinged tin. The next tin is the hinged model. So far I have not found one of these with a paper label but I feel there would have been kits made this way.

Next I believe is the evolution in both bulb and tins. These were in 2 sizes.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 06:04 PM

The next photo shows another tin by GE on the right that was included in some Harley Davidson tool kits. There are a lot of these available on the market place so I believe these were available widespread.

The interiors of the tins are shown next. The cardboard insert is all I have at this point for the tin on the right.

All of the GE tins shown previously are somewhat easy to attain. These will generally range depending on condition from a a couple dollars to $25 without interiors. Complete/correct interiors will range $10-$30 with the first tin shown being in a $20-$40 range.
Posted By: Bob Richards

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Feb 04 2013 06:52 PM

You are doing a great job, Dave!
Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 04:14 PM

OK everyone, I've finally got some time to move forward so we'll move on to GE Edison tins. Unlike the regular GE tins, the Edison tins are limited to just a couple designs. Both are unhinged models and of the more common small size variety. The first tin is the more graphic of the two.

The second tin is probably the more common variety and is rather a plain wrapper style. This tin was styled with the paper labels in mind and you will find these quite regularly with some part of the label remaining however putting together a complete set with good labels is still a respectable challenge. Both styles of tin would have had the paper/cardboard insert and the proper interior is shown. On the bulb sleeve, you will notice artwork from artist Maxfield Parrish who GE commissioned to do art for advertising pieces such as calanders and ads as well as the packaging. Expected prices for good examples are generally in the $5-$25 range depending on condition and completeness.

Next up is Westinghouse. Westinghouse may not have been the originators of the Mazda bulb but they were definately a major force in the market. They had a number of tins with different designs and challenges can be found here as well. Paper labels seem to be a little more challenging to find in this group examples have been found on several of the varieties. It's worth being patient for good examples as the orange and black paint designs are eye catching. You may have noticed by now that collecting paper labels by the numbers is tough enough and putting together great examples is even tougher yet. The blacker version of this design is hinged while the all orange version is unhinged. Once again, prices will range roughly in the $5-$30 bracket.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 04:27 PM

There are variations which are tougher to aquire especially in nice shape. The tin to the right is the easier to find variation but it is not limited to the lid. Lids and boxes are not interchangeable between the two as can be seen in the photos.

The last variation of this tin style is next. Of all Westinghouse tins, this one is hands down the hardest to come by including all brands of tin. These aren't easy to come by in any condition so mine is a little rough. This version also has a different paint treatment. It's more of a opaque metallic look and is not interchangeable in any way with the other sister tins.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 04:44 PM

Comparison photos should show the diffences in paint. This variation will see prices in the $20-$40 range and the more common variation will generally realize $10-$30.

Similarly painted is the little square tin which is the only one of it's size and shape that I am aware of. The challange with this tin is getting it with it's interior. This tin on it's own, $5-$10 and with interior $10-$20.

Lastly we have this hinged model. Not hard to find and I'm certain this was a very late design. Nice condition examples are normally in the $5-$15 range. Although I don't have an example, the interior of this tin is very similar to the blue and white GE tin that was part of some Harley kits except it's Westinghouse of course and is red rather than blue.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 04:58 PM

Tung Sol is up next with just 3 tins. Oddly enough, these can be fairly common but finding them in sweet condition is tough. I don't know for certain, but I believe the lettering differneces in these first 2 tins was evolutionary rather than to specific bulb combinations and the lids are the only difference. This is one tin that paper labels are not something I've come across. Expect prices anywhere from $5-$25 depending on shape and completeness.

One hinged model is the final tin. $5-$20 is an expected range.

Next we'll visit with National. Tins with lables can be collected on the regular tins with prices in area of $10-$25.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 05:12 PM

The one tin National has that is unique to them is the little "half" tin as I refer to it. I cannot determine if these were meant as pre-packaged tins or given along with the purchase of bulbs bought out of boxed case bulbs. I have one rarity with a label on the bottom that has made me raise this question. There are 3 versions of these tins which in the beginning I never caught onto the differences of but they are all individual.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 05:22 PM

This is the little rare jewel I mentioned earlier and the lable on the bottom is what makes it unique. I draw the conclusion this particular tin never had bulbs in it from the manufacturer.

Any of the above tins will usually range in the $3-$10 area.

Dura bulbs is our next example and one of my favorites. These are tougher to aquire than the bigger name brands and tend to run around $20-$40. Still doing my homework on what the interior should look like.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 05:27 PM

American bulbs is our next featured tin. This one always felt very patriotic to me. $15-$35.

An interior shot but no bulb sleeves. Notice the places for fuses in the middle section which is something that isn't the usual but not unique to this particular brand. It's seems like more of an option offered by some companies.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 05:37 PM

Pacesetter lamp tins are next and tend to be harder to come by especially in real nice condition. You can expect $10-$30 prices for this tin.

Posted By: Bob Richards

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 05:52 PM

Dave, this is Great!!!!

I thought I had a pretty good Collection, until I started reading this thread and seeing your photos..... LOL

Keep it up my friend! You are doing Fantastic!!!!!
Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 05:57 PM

Hi-Lite bulb tins are definately one of the more troublesome tins put in your collection with a great look. A couple years back one of these in very nice condition acheived $70 in auction. Fair expectations can range from $25-$70.

Last but not least for todays entries are two tins that can fall into 2 different catagories. We are all familiar with Atlas in the car parts business and although they didn't actually make bulbs, they did market these GE bulbs with their name attached. I have record of Atlas using this practice under Westinghouse as well but any of these are very tough to come by since the nature of the Atlas's advertising was using a sticker. There doesn't seem to be much of a premium over the regular tin price, but it's is a variation worth trying to add to any collection.

The second tin I've seen 3 examples all of which are in poor condition due to this being another sticker application. Again, no real noticable premium in price but be aware this is the large size tin variety and if one of these were to pop up in nice clean shape, I think there would be a noticeable mark up over the base GE tins value.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 14 2013 06:00 PM

Glad you like it Bob. This has become more time consuming than I expected it would so sorry for the long delays between segments. The best tins are yet to come so check in from time to time.
Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 15 2013 03:33 PM

Picking things up again this morning with our next company which is Eveready. Eveready had a different approach to tins choosing their own path and style. They used what I term as the "tube" and the "eye glass" tins. What these tins exceled at was protection of the bulbs themselves without the need for any extra internal packaging such as card board, or the use of sleeves. These tins are some of the most widely available on the market so waiting for top condition specemins is the only way to go here. These can range quite a bit in price but $5-$25 would be a normal exceptable range.

Osram is the next featured tin. Osram is a British bulb manufacturer. To date, I'm aware of 3 British company's with tins from this era but I only have one example to show you. Cossor and Ediswan are the 2 other companies who have tins. If anyone has examples of these and can post up pictures, I'd be most appreciative. The Osram tin is the easiest of the 3 companies to obtain. Price range on the Osram tends to be in the $15-$35 area.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 15 2013 03:46 PM

The last of bulb manufacturers (that I know of) is the Royal bulb company. For the longest time, I had know idea who marketed these next tins since there are no external maker names but some time ago I was able to put a name to the tin. These came in 2 color combinations that I am aware of. I don't have any information that tells me if this is evolutionary or colors representing particular bulb packaging combinations. I personally lean toward the latter as this is common practice even today. These generally fall between $15-$45.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 15 2013 03:57 PM


This group is my personnal favorite and all tins within this group are auto parts dealers. These tins usually have a lot to offer as far as graphics on many or all sides. We'll begin with Penn-Jersey a smaller company on the east coast. There are 2 tins available. A small size and a large size.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 15 2013 04:07 PM

This last picture is of a correct bulb sleeve that would be part of a correct/complete interior. These 2 tins should range about $15-$50 depending on condition. I'd expect more for one that was correct/complete and in great condition.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 15 2013 04:15 PM

Hollanders is our next spot light. Notice the use of faces. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Pep Boys tins which is something they are known for even today. Who was first? I couldn't tell you but it seems to be a market strategy used by several companies. Once again these are in a large and small size. The large size tin is a tougher tin to come by. You can expect to see prices in the area of $15-$60. I have no idea as of yet what the proper interior should look like but I'm hoping.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 15 2013 04:18 PM

That's all I have time for today everyone. I'll be back to adding more within the week. Keep checking back and I hope you're learning something and that I haven't made this too boring!
Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 15 2013 04:25 PM

I am getting some great responses in reguards to pictures of displays and other advertising. I'm excited about the potential of a nice follow-up section at the end of the tins presentation and I'm asking eveyone to hold on to your photos. If you have anything that you can add at the end, get some photos taken now and show us what's out there after I finish up with my stuff. I personally have nothing to add to this section so I'm depending on everyone else to make it successful. There will be no pricing in that section unless the owners volunteer what they spent for their aquisitions. Thanks again for the positive responses via PM's.
Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 05:18 PM

Gofkaufs from the New England states is our next highlighted company. Once again, these came in at least 2 varieties of colors. Some of these tins had the slogan "100% NRA" written on them within a little white banner on the lid. NRA for those of you unfamiliar, is the National Recovery Act which took place during the depression years where large government projects were put in place to help create jobs. So each color version can be found either with or without the slogan on the lid giving a total of 4 possibilities to aquire. Tins from this company are easily attainable for the most part but finding nice examples are much harder. Prices can range $15-$55. Of the four possibilities, so far there doesn't seem to be a standout that is fewer in quantities.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 05:27 PM

Jack and Harry's is another company from the New England area. Recently I've realized that there is also a second color combination to be had. It is unclear if there is any realtionship between Jack and Harry's and Gofkaufs but you'll notice in the next group of pictures the similarities between the 2 companies tins. Jack and Harry's tins are much harder to come by. I myself have only seen several examples. Price expectations should be around $25-$70.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 05:40 PM

The ever popular Pep Boys tins are up next. Two sizes are available from this company. For as many of these that continue to turn up, people still buy these for decent prices. It is worth holding out for better condition examples as rough one's are abundant. Lower priced one's can be had cheaply $10 but much better one's can realize upwards of $65-$70. Correct/ complete pieces do surface from time to time and a premium should be expected for excellent examples. As I mentioned back at the beginning of this section, the use of faces is a marketing tool closely associated with Pep Boys, but all the previous companies used them as well.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 05:48 PM

This last picture is of a correct/complete interior of the large tin however the expectations for the smaller tin should be nearly identical when it comes to the bulb sleeves.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:00 PM

Broadway follows the Pep Boys. This is one of my pride and joys. Information on this company is sparse and whether there are any other variations or sizes I cannot tell you for this is the only example I've come across to this point. Since I have no other sales histories to refer to other than my own purchase, $100 is all I can give for a reference point. Interior is unknown.

The interesting thing to note is the similarities to the Pep boys tins.

.......But, this is it's own tin and NOT interchangeable with the Pep Boys tin.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:14 PM

Western Auto has three tins that I am aware of. The first tin has a variation that is much harder to come by although I don't an example to show you. The difference is simply in the bulb that is pictured on the lid. These are nice looking tins and prices generally are around $20-$55. Interiors are still eluding me so I have no examples to offer.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:17 PM

The next, and most probably, final evolutionary change is altogether different from the others. These are more common but still tough to find in excellent condition. These tend to be around $15-$35.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:21 PM

Triple X brand is our next feature. These are a little harder to come by but look really cool. The one I have is in awesome condition but I wasn't lucky enough to have the interior with it and to this day I still haven't found an example to be sure of. Prices on these tends to be around $20-$60.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:31 PM

R & S auto stores follows up and has 2 nice examples to be collected. These are also different sized tins. The first tin is tough to find but easier than the second. Prices on the first can run anywhere from $25-$80. Once again, interiors are still inknown.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:37 PM

The second tin from R & S is much harder to find. 2 Examples are known by me at this time. Price histories are limited so $45-$90 are the ranges known for now.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:42 PM

Next up is Lightning. A brilliant looking tin that is semi-hard to find. Interior unknown. Prices are respectable at $15-$50.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 16 2013 06:55 PM

Last of this section for the parts stores is Joe-the motorists' friend. These aren't terribly hard to find and waiting for a nice example is worth it. Prices are relative to availability at around $20-$45. Please note that these are a large size tin. If there is a small size tin that was available, I haven't found it yet.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 12:50 PM

Well here we are with the 3rd and final section of tins......Automobile manufacturers. This section overall is probably the most valued of all sections because these are the most cross-collected. I'll refrain from individual price ranges as all of these have proved to have both so-so and extraordinary days. Lower conditions will bring average prices of $25-$50 and better conditions can realize upwards of $150 for the most hard to find models. Back in the first section of bulb manufacturers, I mentioned that Westinghouse was a real powerhouse in the auto bulb market and they really had a corner on the auto manufacturer section. Finding complete interiors is still a major challenge but evidence suggests Westinghouse was involved as a major supplier.

We'll start with Chevrolet....

I do not have an example of a complete interior but I can show you what to expect for the bulb sleeves. As you can see, Tung Sol was listed as the bulb manufacturer so for a complete/correct tin, Tung Sol bulbs would need to be included.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 01:07 PM

There is one technical variation of the Chevy tin and it's a physical difference in the lid. Instead of a completelt flat lid, there is a version that has a slightly recessed center starting at the white line border on the lid. At some point the tins evolved to a simple standard GM tin.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 01:12 PM

Packard follows next with a large size tin. Packard used a cardboard insert with cutouts to hold the individual bulbs.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 01:19 PM

Ford is our next feature. The light blue paint on these tins is tends wear easily or fade so finding one in prestine condition isn't easy.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 01:32 PM

Pontiac is one tin you will spend some time trying to find. One of the rarer tins in the whole collection.

Notice the design similarities between the Chevy and Pontiac tins. Since GM bought Pontiac in 1909 and Oakland produced the first model in 1926, the designs re-affirm time periods of these tins to very late 20's early 30's at their earliest.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 01:55 PM

The Cadillac family of tins is a trio of 2 smaller and 1 larger tin. The larger and most especially the orange tin are the hardest one's to find. Westinghouse appears to be the sole company of choice although I only have one example. When you compare the outside of all Cadillac tins with Westinghouse tins, you see design cues that are definately Westinhouse.

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 01:58 PM

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 02:05 PM

Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 02:36 PM

There are 2 examples from other manufacturers that I am aware of. Unfortunately I have no photos but the first one is by Studebaker. It closely resembles the orange Cadillac tin but with a Studebaker styled lid and the black Westinhouse border. The second tin is Nash. This tin I had a photo of but it was lost by accident. I do know that this was a bulb manufacturers tin with a sticker across the lids face, similar to Atlas, which simply stated Nash.

One last little extra I have is a bulb tester tin. I've seen one other example of the one I have and one example from another manufacturer. These used 4 "D" batteries and could test the larger bulbs and the smaller bulbs with either single or double pole sockets and yes, it does actually work.

And with that, I've reached the end of my guide to bulb tins. It's been a lot of work and I hope I didn't bore anyone too much but mostly I hope you've learned a little something. As I come by new tins, I will continue to update with new photos and as new information surfaces I will update that as well. If you should happen to have a tin that I haven't spotlighted, I'd be delighted to see pictures of it added to this thread. Please remember, it's takes a mountain of patience to piece together a collection such as mine but the challenge and the hunt make it worth the effort. Also, price ranges I've given are mearly a reference point and not an absolute. There are bargains to be found as well as top prices to be paid within all sections and condition/availability will be the best determiner of your spending comfort level. Thanks for taking the time to look through my work and from this point on, I'm asking anyone who wishes to, to add pictures of advertising, displays and anything related to this subject matter that you may own proudly. I know there are some wonderful items that don't get much attention and this would be the perfect forum to show off your wares. Thanks in advance for your additions.
Posted By: Bob Richards

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 06:31 PM

You have done an excellent job on this thread, Dave.... I know you worked long and hard on it.

My little collection of tins and lamps are somewhat pitiful, but they're mine.... LOL

Posted By: Bob Richards

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Fri Feb 22 2013 06:34 PM

Posted By: Ryan Fortner

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 23 2013 02:51 AM

This proves that everything is worth something to someone, and thank God for it. I think of all the stuff I lovingly collect and I appreciate the fact that I never knew these existed until now. Nice, really nice display!
Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 23 2013 02:01 PM

You've been busy, Bob. You've put together some nice cardboard boxed bulbs as well. Thanks for adding the pix.
Posted By: Super Six

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sat Feb 23 2013 06:11 PM


If I did this right a photo of the Nash kit should follow.


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Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 24 2013 06:16 PM

OMG! There it is. I was beginning to think there was only one left on the world. Thankyou so much for the upload. The information tag is a bonus as well. Awesome job Chris.
Posted By: Super Six

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Wed Feb 27 2013 11:23 PM


Found a couple more to add. First one is the cylinderical Tung Sol you mentioned. Found the picture on Ebay. The next picture is of the GE tins found in two shades of blue. Then a really nice example of the Hi-Lite tin. I have one of the other Western Auto versions mentioned. Lastly I was fortunate to find one of the Chevy tins with original bulb sleeves. Thought you might like to see them.


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Posted By: Super Six

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Wed Feb 27 2013 11:34 PM

One more that I was lucky enough to find was this Canadian GLA-RE-LESS tin. The bulbs are copper tipped to cut glare. I have not seen another one. Both Dave & Bob are right though. These tins are addictive.


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Posted By: lordparaffin

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Thu Feb 28 2013 02:39 AM

Chris, it's been an honor to look at your collection and thanks for sharing it. The condition on many of them is outstanding.....the Hilite especially as well as the Gla-re-less. The Gla-re-less is new to me and I'd give my right arm for one. :o) The Tung Sol tube is the very one I lost out on recently and thanks for the pic. of the Western Auto variation. That is a hard one to aquire. One question, though. The 2 GE tins....I'm wondering if the light blue one is truely that color since day one or has it become sun faded over time in your opinion. I ask because GE was very predictable with color schemes such as the Edison yellow/white, National used a more middle tone blue and regular GE tended toward dark blue.

Once again, I ask anyone and everyone to submit photos of cabinets, displays, posters, whatever, to create and more varried and complete representation of things to show and collect.
Posted By: MetroPetro

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Mon Jan 25 2016 10:18 PM

Paper bulb sleeve.

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Posted By: MetroPetro

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 21 2016 12:29 AM

Cadillac-LaSalle kit my dad picked up with original Mazda bulb/insert contents.

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Posted By: MetroPetro

Re: A Guide to Light Tins - Sun Feb 21 2016 12:30 AM


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