Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,103 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Tilley Lamp Co

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of Colindale Avenue, London

of 15 Sackville Street, London, W1 (1951)

  • The Tilley Lamp derives from John Tilley’s invention of the hydro-pneumatic blowpipe in 1813.
  • W. H. Tilley were manufacturing pressure lamps at their works in Stoke Newington in 1818, and Shoreditch in the 1830s.
  • Private company.
  • The company moved to Brent Street in Hendon in 1915 during World War I, and started work with paraffin (kerosene) as a fuel for the lamps.
  • During World War I the Tilley Lamp was widely used in the British armed forces, and became so popular that Tilley became used as a generic name for Kerosene lamp in many parts of the world, in much the same way as Hoover is for vacuum cleaners.
  • During the 1920s the company had diversified into domestic lamps, and had expanded rapidly after orders from a number of railway companies.
  • Name changed.
  • 1937 Portable lamps, floodlights and searchlight projectors. "Tilley" Lamps. [1]
  • After the World War II fears about the poisonous effect of paraffin fumes, and freely available electricity reduced demand for domestic use.
  • 1947 Name changed.
  • 1949 Company made public.
  • The company moved from Hendon to Ireland in the early 1960s, finally settling Belfast.
  • 1961 Manufacturers of "Tilley" paraffin vapour lamps, radiators and low pressure gas appliances. 360 employees. [2]
  • In 2000 they relocated.

Sources of Information