I have had the honor and pleasure of making an acquaintance with an extraordinary collector, Andrzej Matla.  Andrzej has a stunning collection of very rare Kaestner & Toebelmann Lanterns.  Andrzej also has an extensive line up of other beautiful lanterns; some of which you will see in the photo gallery.   Andrzej, with the kind assistance of Jörg Wekenmann, supplied a brief, but very informative history of K & T.  This page of my website will continue to grow and hopefully inspire you to continue your quest of collecting & restoring.  


If you have any questions regarding this collection, you can email Andrzej at:  andrzej.matla@wp.pl


A sincere  'Thank You' to both Andrzej and Jörge Wekenmann!


I was born in 1956 in Gdansk called once Danzig - the very place of the outbreak of the Second World War on September 1,1939, the place from where communism began to fall apart in 1980. Solidarnosc was born here! (so did Mr D.G. Fahrenheit in 1686). Some people still remember the electrician Lech Walesa from Gdansk shipyard who started the great change in this part of the world.


I have been honored to work for Solidarnosc international affairs since 1990. Before that I was a historian researcher studying Polish-Norwegian economic relations between 1919-1939. For six years of my life I have studied Scandinavian languages and history and literature of Scandinavia. My thoughts circle tirelessly around the past. My passion for old lamps is a part of this process.


I remember that life of a man is only a short moment in the history of collected items. Most lanterns will survive me. But first I have to protect them from destruction, to take them into light again from obscurity of forgotten lofts, cellars and other magic places.




Kästner &Toebelmann Lamp Factory was the fourth of five oldest lamp factories established in Erfurt, Thuringia/South East Germany in the late 1800s. The oldest one was Fr.Stübgen &Co. (est.1843) manufacturer of famous BAT lanterns, the second one- C.A.Kleemann (est.1851), third one-C.Klöpfel&Sohn (est.1867). The youngest of them was Toebelmann&Grimm (est.1882).


Franz Kästner and Siegfried Bernhard Heinrich Toebelmann started their business on August 1st, 1874, when Franz Kästner entered the business operated by Toebelmann under the company of Siegfried Toebelmann. In 1899 Siegfried Toebelmann died. The business was transferred to the shareholder Fr.Kästner with all assets and liabilities.




Hermann Kästerner


At its early days the company employed 20-25 people. Around 1904, it was large in the production and development of petroleum lamps. They used modern American press machines. The establishment expanded to over 6000 sqm and around 1914 at the peak of its potential it employed about 700 people. The success of the lamp factory can also be seen in the income of its owners. The manufacturer Franz Kaestner is among the multi-millionaires in Erfurt. He is a member of the General Assembly of the Chamber of Commerce in Erfurt from 1881 to 1905.



1901, Franz (Friedrich) Kästner jr. entered the company as a personally liable partner, his brother Hermann Kästner did so in 1912. The same year Franz  Kästner left the company. He died two years later. Hermann took over the management in the war year 1914. 


In 1913, Franz Friedrich Kästner like his father before was also elected to the General Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the Commission of the German Trade Association for Patent, Pattern and Sign Protection.


Prior to 1914 K&T was one of the 16 Erfurt companies with between 201 and 1000 employees. During the Great War the company produced most probably also for military purposes.


 In 1922, Kästner & Toebelmann and Stübgen & Co. were named as the largest lamp companies in Germany. The production of hurricane lanterns was particularly important at this time. However, utility and luxury lamps are also being manufactured. Very many of these lamps and lanterns went to export to Asia and several European markets.


At the end of the 1920s K&T faced financial problems caused by the global economic crisis but also caused by  extravagant way of living and old fashioned way of managing the business. They decided to resign from the production of petroleum lamps and to focus entirely on the production of electric lights. Electric lighting has been manufactured at K&T since the end of the 19th century!


1931- The companies Nier, Stübgen, Frowo and HASAG were looking at the manufacturing facilities of K&T to prevent the entry of external competitors.  At the end of 1931, HASAG AG (Hugo Schneider) purchased the hurricane lantern department from K&T buying machines, tools and trade marks from K&T.
For two years -1933 and 1934- K&T produced Hasag-Panzer lanterns. The company made two models for  HASAG:“Hasag Panzer” and“Hasag Colibri”.


From 1935 on, Fr. Stübgen produced the same lanterns for HASAG company.


1934 Kästner & Toebelmann celebrated its 60th anniversary. Publications emphasized that K&T lamps had been around the world for 60 years.


In 1934 Hermann Kästner died in Erfurt, his son Rudolf later fell in the Second World War on the front.

In 1939 the liquidation of the Kästner & Toebelmann company was finally completed
From then on K&T became a history “gone with the wind.”

Between 1890 and 1925 the company launched the following models of hurricane lanterns:

Double Tank 
Armored Sturgeon Bird 
Panzer-Lloyd (hot air lantern)
Panzer-Lloyd (cold air lamp)
Panzer-Fenix (Sweden Export)




*Compiled by Andrzej Matla*


Privatarchiv J. Wekenmann, Tamara Hawich: Manufakturen, Maschinen, Manager, IHK Erfurt; 2001, Aufstieg und Niedergang der Firma Kaestner & Toebelmann, unveröffentliches Manuskript Simon Brändlin, Staatsarchiv Chemnitz


Comments: 2
  • #2

    Roger Day (Wednesday, 14 February 2018 12:30)

    I have recently discovered an extremely ornate bronze and stoneware kerosene lamp with the name Kaestner & Toebelmann Erfort stamped into the end of the wick elevating mechanism. I see in this page mention of ornate lamps for the Asiatic market and this looks luxurious enough for a Maharajah's palace, with floral panels and geometric desines in miniature covering every surface, with a Prussian blue glaze as background and even melted gold powder outlining the small collared diamonds, rectangles and swirls. It is 40 cm. high not including the glass chimney and has four ceramic handles. The kerosene is placed in a separate glass container which lifts out from the main ceramic body, for filling. Can you send me an e-mail address to which I may send a photograph please. I would also ask for advice as to where to buy a wick for this model and a clear glass chimney, as it has a modern brown glass one at present that is too short. I live on the island of Ibiza, Spain, making any search for spare parts for antiques doubly difficult, but have now restored the few large chips in the ceramic part and it looks like new, from half a meter's distance, and I dream of seeing it light up in all its glory once more. My e-mail is <rogerwd@movistar.es>.... thank you in advance. Best Regards, Roger Day

  • #1

    Brock Shields (Friday, 23 December 2016 22:54)

    I'm in total awe. I look forward to seeing the rest of the collection. Thank you sharing.