We hear all kinds of advice for novice homesteaders, those brave souls just venturing into the exciting world of self-sufficiency. But eventually novice homesteaders become experienced homesteaders. Through a combination of book learning and trial-and-error, people learn the intricacies of country skills and lead lives of great independence. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Shorter days, longer nights? It’s that time of the year! With the time change happening this weekend, we’re sharing with you the importance of having reliable light – not only for the winter season, but for all year long.*
My first experience with an oil lamp was at my grandparents’ house several years ago. We were sitting in the basement playing Scrabble (my grandpa’s favorite game) when suddenly the lights went out. Poof.
Editor’s Note: This is article was originally published in December 2016.
For some, the thought of upcoming wintertime power outages comes with a sense of dread or even panic. But there has always been something nostalgic to me about the peace that comes when the noisy hum of household appliances falls quiet. The glowing ambiance of candles or oil lamps gently lighting a room takes me back to bygone days when life had a bit more quality and substance. Continue reading
There was a time when everything was made by hand – no automated machines or computerized factories, just the labor of hardworking people. While times have changed, many people embrace the “old-fashioned” way of doing things. Our local chandler, Christine, is one of those people. Continue reading
Every year as the holiday season approaches, I get excited about the endless possibilities of wonderful things I can make that put everyone in the Christmas spirit. Continue reading
I have come to know darkness as a fact of rural life. When the sun sets over the Green Mountains, ceasing to bathe the lush Vermont landscape in its golden evening light, the darkness of night makes itself abundantly known. Continue reading
Gerry Dietz retired as President of R.E. Dietz in 1967, and his brother John became the President. In 1970, they closed the Syracuse factory and moved their remaining kerosene lantern production to Hong Kong.
Ten years later, the Hong Kong factory was manufacturing 1.5 million lanterns per year, becoming a great success. Dietz was still innovating, producing a line of battery powered emergency flashers for highway construction and floating traffic lights for barges. Records from the period show that, at times, Dietz had cash reserves of more than $600,000.
But running the factory half a world away must have been difficult even though Dietz had talented managers in Hong Kong. For example, the â€œ76â€ lantern, meant to commemorate the Bicentennial, was produced two years late, in 1978! That was one year after I started working at Lehman’s, and I still remember receiving the first shipment of those lanterns.
1978 was also the year that John Dietz retired. The presidency was taken over by Edward Reynolds, the first non-family member to run R.E. Dietz. And, demand Continue reading
John Dietz wasn’t destined to have the same success that his father, Robert Dietz, and brother, Frederick Dietz had running the R.E. Dietz lantern company. Although R.E. Dietz would continue growing until 1923, the Great Depression would eventually bring the company to its knees.
His son, Robert E Dietz II, was described as the only hope that, “Our family name Dietz will (be) perpetuated.” But, John’s brother, Frederick said of Robert, “Owing to his nervous temperament he could not stand the strain of office confinement and was obliged to temporarily seek outdoor life.” It seems that whether or not the R.E. Dietz company would continue to be led by a member of the Dietz family in the future was in question. Robert II eventually left Dietz and moved to New Mexico, where he took up farming. Continue reading
In 1894, after more than 50 years at the helm of the RE Dietz company he started, Robert Dietz retired at the age of 76. He left his son, Frederick (now 45) in charge.
Frederick was just as innovative as his father. He registered 25 new patents for lantern design. He also applied his skills to marketing. He designed a unique Dietz logo, obtained trademarks and upgraded company catalogs. He set up a sales organization, and even hired a salesperson to circumnavigate the globe, marketing their lanterns in India, Japan and (foreshadowing the company’s future) China. A book published by RE Dietz in 1913 (and, admittedly, co-authored by Frederick himself), says, “There is no one living who has greater knowledge of the birth and growth of the lantern industry.” Continue reading