Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Your Dark Lantern Seize"

A dark lantern is something you'd only tend to hear about in an archaic context, as in the lyrics quoted in my title, above, from Pirates of Penzance, when the Pirate King is exhorting his crew to collect their tools so as to "vary piracy with a bit of burglary."

But for Victorian criminals and crimefighters alike, it was an important bit of kit. Essentially, it allowed you to see your way in the dark withouht being spotted, by shading the beam of your lantern.

For my Sherlock Holmes dollhouse room, I decided to make a dark lantern. It's  modeled after the one pictured in this wonderful informative post about the Dietz Police Lantern

Antique Dietz Police Lantern, full size

Dollhouse-sized (about 1.5" high) Dietz Police Lantern
Mine is a bit out of proportion: too tall, with a cap that's too large. I might redo it, but for the moment I'm quite pleased with it.

The body is a plastic spool from an emergency sewing kit from the dollar store (about $1.25 for ten or so spools plus needles and so on. The bulb is a cap from something like a tube of glue.

The bottom and top are made with the metallic tape you use to seal furnace ductwork and dryer venting hoses, which I normally have in the house. For the top, I cut out two circles of paper with foil tape stuck to both sides, and simply bent them with needle-nosed pliers.

The back is made with two short bits of tubing cut out of the inner working of a disposable ballpoint pen (which can stilll be used), three paper clips, a tiny rectangle of dollar-store craft foam and more of that foil tape. I actually did inscribe the words "DIETZ POLICE LANTERN NEW YORK U.S.A."on the back, but you can't really read it.

It's finished with a coat of silver enamel paint and some black latex craft paint on top.

I've been working on the room box (with the helpful of my capable and crafty brother), so I'll soon have a place to put the collection of Holmesiana.

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