History WILLIS & ABTES
The company has always been closely concerned with paraffin pressure lanterns and, following its initial work in this field in 1912, experimental production of the German Petromax type began in 1920.
A close association with Tilley Lamp Company concerned in 1925, and for the next twelve years all the lamp pressings used by this company were designed and produced by Willis & Bates Limited.
The latter also manufactured, on Tilley’s behalf, a floodlight designed by S. W. Bates.
In 1938 the Tilley Lamp Company made a change in its buying policy, which was unacceptable to S. W. Bates, who closed the account.
Willis & Bates then began to develop an improved form of paraffin pressure lantern on the general lines of the Tilley, but of more robust construction and embodying features designed to provide a storm-proof light.
The development was entirely successful and resulted in improvements which were protected by letters patent. The lanterns was given the registered trade name of Vapalux.
Second World War 1939 – 1945
Early in 1939, approaches were made to various ministries and departments, now known as the Ministry of Defence, U.K.
Following field tests, the Vapalux was approved and adopted for use by the armed forces.
The whole of the Willis & Bates production was devoted to work for the defence ministries, U.K.
The polishing and plating plant removed and the space utilised to supplement the Vapalux manufacturing area.
Throughout the war, the output of the Vapalux lanterns was 2,000 per week.
The Post-War years
After the war, normal business resumed, the principal customers being:
Holophane Limited; Jackson Boiler Limited; Stotts of Oldham; Drysdale Limited; Aladdin Industries Limited; Allied Ironfounders Limited; Ministry of Defence(U.K.).
A subsidiary company, Vapalux Limited, was formed to manufacture the lantern in separate premises.
After some ten years, this subsidiary was merged with the parent company, the plant and equipment being transferred to Pellon Works.
The lantern was redesigned to give more attractive appearance. All the original features were retained and the principal spare parts are interchangeable.
From 1945 to 1968, the lantern was marketed by Aladdin Industries Limited under the trade name Bialaddin.
At the beginning of 1970, Willis & Bates Limited took over the entire marketing of the lantern, using their trade name Vapalux.
Following its policy of entry into carefully selected new fields, the company has begun to market a range of untensils know as Pellon Ware, specifically designed for hospital and similar use.
These untensils are protected by designed registration.