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Futuristic Edmund & Jones Model 20 Torpedo Headlamps

The Model 20 Torpedo headlights that lighting engineer Charles E. Godley designed for Edmund & Jones, the old-line lamp manufacturer in the early-1920s, utilized both old and new features. Godley, who also produced designs for both General Motors, and the C.M. Hall Lamp Co., was one of the first to use this shape of a lamp that became common in the 1930s. In conjunction with the new light, a magnifying lens that had been used in earlier vehicle headlights was used.

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  •                E & J Model 20 Torpedo 1925 patent application drawing by designer Charles E. Godley.

Exactly when it was first put into production by E & J is not known, but it was standard equipment on the stylish new 1924 bus built by The Six-Wheel Co. The illustrations of the 1926 Paige and the 1927 Jordon Tomboy below by the manufacturers show that is was offered as optional equipment by the automakers. It has been reported that the lights may have been the offered on the Kissel Gold Bug.

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  •                                          A 1927 Jordon Tomboy illustration courtesy of Alden Jewell.

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  •                                            A 1926 Paige illustration courtesy of the AACA Library.

All of the patent drawings of the three different styles of these lamps that have been found (two are more below) show the lamp shell to be of conventional nickel-plated brass construction. The advertisement below by Stewart Die Castings of Chicago, IL., was in the September 11, 1924 Automotive Industries magazine and shows that the company was also casting the shells for E & J.

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  •                  A Stewart Die Castings advertisement showing the two-piece die cast construction.

The patent application and drawings for the production version of the headlight at the top of the page can be found here. Below are two different versions and the first one shows the E & J magnifying lens and door construction. The drawing at the bottom illustrates a version with a different style of body and a larger door.

Information on the lamps is quite hard to find today, and everything that has been discovered about these unique lamps has been presented here today. We are hopeful that readers can tell us more about these lights, if both types of construction were used, and how well the units actually work.

  •                                                  E & J magnifying lens and door construction.

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  •                                        A third style of the lamp with different shape a larger door.

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10 responses to “Futuristic Edmund & Jones Model 20 Torpedo Headlamps

    • Hemmings might have a vintage one for sale. Don’t know if there’s any reproductions. If you got fabrication skills you could build a housing around a modern projector beam headlight, since that’s really what the torpedo headlights were.

  1. I have no idea how well these would have worked but I wonder if in that late 1920s era, when cars were getting larger and larger headlights, whether it was perceived that these would not be very effective.

  2. The illustration of
    “A 1926 Graham-Paige illustration courtesy of the AACA Library.”
    appears to be a labeling error. Graham was not connected to Paige until 1927, and not officially until more than halfway through the ’27 model year. Late ’27 and early ’28 cars were called “Paige, Graham Built ” on the radiator badge. The first “Graham Paige” cars were 1928 models.
    As far as the picture goes, it is probably a 1926 Paige model 70 or 72. Also, in many ways, it looks like a 1927 Paige 8-85. The fender, radiator, hood, and belt lines all look the part. The roof line, and bumpers, are not typical of the 8-85. There is a factory photo of a similar car in “The Graham Legacy: Graham Paige to 1932” by Michael E. Keller, of a model 8-85 on page 112. The body is different enough that both could be correct. An advertisement picture is shown on page 94, no model number given, but probably a ’26, and looks most like the illustration above. Both models pictured in the book do have the headlamps in question.

  3. This type of headlamp design, just like a “standard” “bulb & reflector” electric headlamp (EXAMPLE: 1930, ’31 Model “A” or “AA” Ford) has the classic problem of “Silvering the reflector”. It has to do with “Reflectability” of a given metal, in this case: SILVER, which has the Reflectability of 75 to 80 %, meaning a LOSS of efficiency of 25 to 20 %! Silvering a reflector was a “standard ” throughout the world. Consider UP-grading to having your reflectors sent to a laboratory that can provide a n EVAPORATED ALUMINUM surface for your reflectors: Caution: NOT STOCK!
    on the OTHER hand, IF your early Car, Truck or Motorcycle happens to be DRIVEN AT NIGHT, then you will have the upper hand of SEEING, over “Re-Silvering”: A correctly applied (on a correctly PREPARED reflector surface!) “evaporated Aluminum coating” will provide between 85 to 95% REFLECTIVITY!!! and will endure MUCH longer than “silvering will! Note: ALL newer cars have evaporated Aluminum reflectors — (just as a SEALED BEAM Headlamp does!) Note: The Main Westinghouse Sealed Beam Plant was in Fairmont, W.V. , circa 1940. (it was ALSO a “cover-up” for the manufacture of RADAR Vacuum Tubes during WW-2! SO: the E & J Model 20 projector headlamp was “efficiency starved ” from the beginning, with 75% reflectivity. The rest has to do with the SIZE of the lens & housing — meaning that ANY efficency of Model 20 was hampered by “STYLING considerations , due to NOT wanting the “20” to be TOO BIG and/or overly BULBOUS in comparison to “standard headlamp size” that car buyers were “used to”. There is another “specialty” headlamp (looks good in the DAYTIME!), —with the same PROBLEM: Not big enough to be efficient enough — due to “STYLING issues”. For you Silvering ONLY folks, “LAMP BLACK” is the recommended polish! Edwin. – 30 –

  4. All,
    I restore Kissels and know many fellow Kissel-Owners. These E & J Model 20’s have been found on at least three 1922 and 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedsters, They are not listed as original equipment in the contemporary Kissel parts lists, but legend has it that Kissel Dealers were authorized (encouraged?) to mount these at the customers request. that would account for why there are so many Kissel Gold Bug Speedsters with them.
    Thanks, Ron Hausmann P.E.

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