Witherbee Electric Cap Lamp

This Wico electric cap mining lamp was made by the Witherbee Igniter Co. of Springfield, Massachusetts around 1914. Witherbee started as a manufacturer of magnetos to ignite internal combustion engines. Witherbee became the Wico Electric Company and also manufactured batteries, like the one used in this electric cap lamp. The lamp consists of a battery encased in a locking metal case worn on the miner’s belt. A flexible cord traveled to the cap lamp, which would be worn on the miner’s helmet.
Electric cap lamp inventor Grant Wheat’s personal collection of mining lamps was donated to the museum in 1962. Many of these objects were depicted in his “Story of Underground Lighting” published in the “Proceedings of the Illinois Mining Institute” in 1945. This cap lamp was the 37th object in his chronological development of underground lighting.
Currently not on view
Object Name
lamp, cap, mining
battery: 6 in x 4 1/2 in x 2 in; 15.24 cm x 11.43 cm x 5.08 cm
wire: 40 in; 101.6 cm
light: 3 3/8 in x 3 3/8 in x 2 11/16 in; 8.636 cm x 8.636 cm x 6.858 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Industry & Manufacturing
Mining Lamps
Grant Wheat Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mining
Grant Wheat Collection
Mining Lamps
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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