Preserving the past…building a better future

At Lehman’s, we believe that old fashioned, proven solutions often work better than the latest fad. Just because something is new doesn’t make it better.

Lehman's Own Reading 78 Apple Peeler
Lehman’s Own Reading 78 Apple Peeler

This means that we get to give ourselves a special pat on the back every time we save something from being lost to forgotten memories and lost skills. Some of our proudest moments have crystallized around such events. For example, we saved the 1878 Reading Apple Peeler from extinction. Here it is 130 years later and we are still making it the same way…mostly by hand using the same patterns. (If you have an antique one that’s not working, let us know. We can fix it.)

Our Own Butter Churn
Our Own Butter Churn

In another success story, we imitated the design of the old Dazey butter churn and brought it to market. (Sorry, we don’t currently have any parts for the Dazey. From time to time, however, jars have been available. If you send an email to, we can let you know if any are available now.)

When it comes to saving items from the past, however, it’s not only about products. It’s about ideas and knowledge, too.

I’ve been a lover of oil lamps almost since the day I started working at Lehman’s as a teenager. I have always been fascinated by non-electric light, whether it was the warm flicker of a wick lamp, the gentle hiss of an Amish table lamp or silent white light of an Aladdin.

Aladdin Brass Oil Lamp
Aladdin Brass Oil Lamp

I found the technology fascinating and the gentle light warmer and more welcoming. The fact that kerosene lit homes were often not as brightly lit as homes with electricity just added to the fascination. It just felt right that folks gathered there had to come close together to read, play games and talk.

The only problem is, other than our Amish customers, no one seemed to know much about oil lamps. No one, that is, until I came across a book by Tim Matson. He described in detail the use, safety issues and maintenance of every lamp I’d ever heard of. Here is a guy that knows his lights!

Unfortunately, I had only one copy of his book, which went out of print in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I had written Tim to see if we could get it published, but never got a reply. For decades, the book sat on my shelf as a reference guide. Over the years, I read and re-read it so many times that I probably knew as much about it as Tim did. After awhile, I kinda forgot I had it.

The Book of Non-Electric Lighting
The Book of Non-Electric Lighting

Then, about a year ago, I stumbled across my old copy of Tim Matson’s book again. (OK, I admit it. Along with a surprising number of oil lamps, I also have too many books on sagging shelves and scattered around my home.) And, now I that I had the amazing power of the internet at my fingertips, I was able to track down Tim and his publisher and get the book reprinted.

Bringing this book back into print is one of our proudest moments. If you’ve ever wondered anything about the care and use of oil lamps, this is the one resource to have.

With winter closing in and long nights ahead, now is the time to make sure you know what to do for light. Many of our customers choose to go without electricity for religious or other reasons, making this book a must-have. For others, who may face the startling inconvenience of a power failure only once a year, this is just something to have on the shelf as a reference guide.

Either way, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

And, along with it (just in case you won’t have access to television either), you might want to invest in a game of Rook, Dutch Blitz or the Farm Game!
Galen Lehman
Galen Lehman, President, Lehman’s

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