R. E. Dietz History

The ongoing amalgamation of historical, and sometimes trivial, information found here has been assembled from various sources, which includes:  The 1913 book "A Leaf from the Past" by Fred Dietz; Various Dietz Co. Catalogs and Price Lists published from 1874 to 1989;  The United States Patent Office Archive;  Ulysses G. Dietz' book, "Victorian Lighting - The Dietz Catalog of 1860"  The research of Linda Black;  And my personal research of the R.E. Dietz Archive, historical newspaper reports, as well as correspondence and interviews with Dietz family members and former employees, and other sources.

Please NOTE:
If you wish to use from this webpage in an auction or sales description,
please include a credit line that reads:

Copyrighted Text by W.T. Kirkman Used With Permission
Courtesy of www.lanternnet.com"

The Beginning

Monday, January 5, 1818

Robert Edwin Dietz was born in New York on January 5, 1818 in a house on the corner of Spring and Crosby Streets built by his grandfather who came to America during the War of Independence.


Anna Hadwick is born


Robert Edwin Dietz started as a hardware clerk for the firm of Woolf, Spies & Clark in Maiden Lane.


Robert Edwin Dietz became a volunteer fireman, joining the No. 9 Hose Company,
and later the "Lady Washington" No. 40 Engine Company on Elizabeth Street.

June 9, 1839

Tubular lantern Inventor John Henry Irwin was born
in Trenton, N.J. to Mr. and Mrs. David H. Irwin

Summer of 1840

Robert E. Dietz at Age 22, purchases a lamp & oil business at
62 Fulton St., at the corner of Columbia St., Brooklyn, New York.
He began manufacturing candle lanterns, and was able to save
$600 in the first year of business


Robert E. Dietz' brother, William Henry Dietz (b. May 29, 1816,) became partners to form Dietz, Brother & Company with their associate
John A.Weed 
at No. 13 John Street, New York, N.Y.


Dietz, Brother & Company introduce sperm oil lanterns

Monday, February 2, 1846

Amasmus French admitted to Dietz, Brother & Company

Saturday, May 16, 1846

Robert E. Dietz weds Anna Hadwick

September 29, 1847

Mary Augusta Dietz was born to Robert and Anna Dietz

February 9, 1849

Frederick Dietz was born to Robert and Anna Dietz

The 1850's

January 15, 1850

Anna Louise Dietz was born to Robert and Anna Dietz


Dietz, Brother & Company sell "*Carcel" and "Doric" lamps, and manufacture improved camphene lamps, solar lamps, girandoles, hall lamps, and chandeliers.   They are awarded lighting contract for the
P.T. Barnum premier of Jenny Lind, the largest musical event in the History of New York up to that time


Dietz, Brother & Company renamed Dietz & Company
and build large factory at 132-134 William Street New York City, N.Y.
Begin manufacturing of lamps, burners, and gas fixtures
Robert's Brother Samuel Dunbar Dietz opens a Sales Office in San Francisco, California around this time.


Dietz & Company submit the first flat-wick burner for "modern" coal oil for patenting

December 1858

John Edwin Dietz was born to Robert and Anna Dietz
at the Dietz estate in Hempstead, Long Island


Dietz & Company begin manufacturing coal oil flat-wick burners

The 1860's

May 6, 1860

William Meinell Dietz was born to Robert and Anna Dietz


Dietz & Company opens sales office at No. 4 St. Pauls Building Little Carter Lane London, England.  This office was headed by
Michael Alexander Dietz (b. August 2, 1830-1883)

The Sales Office in San Francisco, California continues to do a brisk business.

Notes on Dietz & Company

This company was run by five of the Dietz Brothers:
William Henry Dietz, b. May 29, 1816
Robert Edwin Dietz, b. January 5, 1818
Samuel Dunbar Dietz, b. August 17, 1823
James Meinell Dietz, b. May 26, 1825
Michael Alexander Dietz, b. August 2, 1830

October 15, 1863

Henry James Dietz was born to Robert and Anna Dietz


At his father's advice to invent a lamp or lantern that can withstand movement without going out,
John H. Irwin invents the Hot Blast Tubular principle after tinkering for three days in the tool house.

August 9, 1863

Howard James Dietz was born to Robert and Anna Dietz

Tuesday, January 7, 1868

28 year old John H. Irwin is issued the first Hot Blast Tubular lantern patent, #73012,
eventually worth $20,000 per year in royalties.


Robert E. Dietz sells his interest in Dietz & Company to
his brother James M. Dietz


Robert E. Dietz takes on Absalom G. Smith (formerly of the Archer, Pancoast & Company,)
as a partner to form Dietz & Smith and
they lease the upper floors of 25' x 100' 4 story building at
No. 4 College Place & Robinson Street in New York, N.Y.
Charles Frederick Eberhardt joins the company as delivery driver.

Thursday, July 30, 1868

Dietz & Smith purchased from a receiver the right to manufacture the "New Tubular Lantern" (under the Patents of John Irwin,) together with the stock, tools, patents & goodwill of the Archer, Pancoast & Company, and the license to sell them east of Chicago.


21 year old Frederick Dietz, Robert E. Dietz' eldest son,
begins his business career as shipping and invoice clerk

Thursday, August 5, 1869

Robert E. Dietz buys out A.G. Smith for $17,000 and forms the
R.E. Dietz Company and continues business at
No. 4 College Place & Robinson Street in New York, N.Y