In 1893, brothers Hermann and Ernst Nier
started producing their first
hurricane lanterns in Beierfeld in the Saxon Ore Mountains of Germany. Five years later the
Frankonia Albert Frank Metalware
Co. bought up the operation and hired the Nier brothers as managers. Owing to differences with Frankonia, Hermann Nier
left and started his own hurricane lantern factory, “Hermann Nier Feuerhandwerk” in 1902. The same year, he applied for a patent for the solder-less method of manufacturing lanterns using stamping and
crimping techniques with tinning using molten zinc. In 1914 he registered the “Feuerhand” trademark, and in 1920 the round Feuerhand emblem was added to the brand.
Then in 1926, the patents as well as the trademark “Firehand” were also registered in the USA. The manufacture of the well-known "Baby" series hurricane lanterns began in 1933.
Between 1918 and 1938, the Nier-Feuerhand Co. became the biggest producer of hurricane lanterns in the world. Over this period of time, several new patent applications were made, amongst other things for the improvement of the burners and the development of a windbreak, the so-called “Sturmkappe”. With the beginning of World War II, the international market collapsed, resulting in a drop in production.
Like many factories, Nier Feuerhand ended up focusing on military production. After the war, the Nier family was expropriated, and the factory machines were dismantled and brought into the Soviet Union. The family fled to the West to Lüdenscheid in Westphalia and established a small lantern production factory, which was moved to Hohenlockstedt in Schleswig-Holstein in 1949. While the brand name “Feuerhand” still belonged to the Nier family, the factory in Beierfeld, as well as the original blueprints were taken over by the publicly owned
operation “Volkseigener Betrieb Metallwaren,” (VEB MEWA,) which continued production in the GDR using the trademark “BAT” until 1990.
Since 1989, the #276 Baby Special
cold blast lantern has been the only Feuerhand
model still in production. In the Fall of 2014, the “Feuerhand” trademark was acquired by the Petromax group, and continues production of the Feuerhand Baby Special #276 lantern in Hohenlockstedt, which is proudly marked "Made in Germany." The worldwide renowned Feuerhand brand hurricane lanterns perpetuate a tradition that is more than one hundred years old.