Copper in the Arts

July 2008

Copper Lantern

By Donna Dvorak

copper lantern owner Owner Tim Baratelle in the historic Copper Lantern showroom in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Photograph by Robyn Jasko

Copper lanterns have been lighting our way since the inception of candles, providing the exceptional beauty and sheen that only high quality copper can provide. For more than 25 years, the expert team at The Copper Lantern in Mechanicsville, PA, has been keeping these fine examples of early American craftsmanship alive and well.

"Our main corporation was electrical contracting, and we still own the company, but people always asked where they could purchase unusual, hand-crafted, high quality lighting," says Tim Baratelle, co-owner with his wife, Joan. "We began selling exterior copper fixtures in the second floor of our warehouse in a New Britain (PA) barn, opened a store in Chalfont (PA) and then started showing our exceptional designs at trade shows. Our products were a hit, so we decided to become a full-scale retail copper lantern business. We now have two acres in Mechanicsville on a historical site. Being a point of interest sales company allows us to present new and unusual lighting products in an area that boasts fine, high-end housing. I've taken some design courses and taught courses for colleges in lighting designs in exteriors. Being in business for more than 25 years has provided me with knowing not only the electrical and lighting design industry but all of the latest trends."

Baratelle notes that his savvy clients are tired of the 'junk' found in discount markets or showrooms and desire better quality copper products that will last and pass the test of time. Tim and his wife, Joan, design pieces from historical reproductions, and travel to museums in Massachusetts and areas where early models of lanterns exist. Baratelle then has the unique works reproduced by metalsmiths at six different companies from New Jersey to New Hampshire.

copper lantern Early Americana-inspired copper lantern.

Photograph by Robyn Jasko

"The copper lanterns are located around the United States in sites like historic Williamsburg, Independence Hall, the White House, and many more," says Tim. "In fact, there's an outside lantern on the Betsy Ross House that we have in our showroom that's actually called the Betsy Ross Lantern. Although most of our copper is based on our exterior fixtures, we also create interiors. We light kitchens, kitchen islands, foyers and have even made large-scale lanterns that are four and five feet wide for indoors. The companies that we use obtain the copper---we don't make them here---We do, however, repair copper lanterns. Anyone can bring their lanterns to us and we'll repair them to look new again."

The Copper Lantern has a landscape lighting division that designs site lighting and recent work includes the Parry Mansion, in New Hope, PA, and the Lake House Inn, in Nockamixon, PA. They've created copper projects for a client in Puerto Rico, by designing an exterior lighting project, as well as the Virgin Islands, Florida, and Alaska, where they created an interior copper lantern and pot-rack design.

"All of our pot racks are created from copper and iron," he continues, noting that everything is custom made and can be ordered in any size. "We also do exterior and interior sconces, bathroom lighting---both copper and painted iron---as well as copper pendant lights for kitchen islands. The public can bring their ideas to us and we work with them to design their special needs or they can choose from our large selection of already-created handcraft designs. Nothing is too large or too small for us."


The Copper Lantern, Mechanicsburg, PA, (215) 794-1900

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