Carlisle & Finch is a manufacturer of nautical equipment founded in 1893 or 1894 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where, as of 2021, it still has its headquarters. The company’s main products throughout its entire history have been searchlights, mostly for marine applications. It was also known for navigation beacons used by airports and lighthouses. In addition, it was known as a producer and innovator of electric toy trains in the early years of the company.
The business was started on July 1, 1893, by Robert S. Finch and Morten Carlisle. Both were about age 21 and had technical college degrees. The business initially was a repair shop, a Cincinnati Branch Office of the General Electric Co. This office operated as a repair shop to take care of G.E. armatures, transformers, and arc lamps of their own making.
On July 1, 1894, the repair shop moved to a larger building in downtown Cincinnati and before the second year had passed it became evident to the owners that to continue in business they would have to manufacture a product.
That product became the world’s first toy electric train line. Mechanical wind-up toy trains that ran on tracks were in existence, but not trains run by electric current. This idea was developed to a considerable extent and soon all sorts of toy train engines and cars were in production. All operated on 2-inch gauge tracks and all were made from metal and designed to high detail with bright and colorful stenciling.
During the height of the electric toy train business the company employed a high of around 120 employees. Besides toy trains, many other electric novelties were made and sold such as automobiles, boats, incline planes, experimental electricity and magnetic science sets, and others, as well as water-driven dynamos to power the toys.
The first open arc searchlight was designed, made, and sold by the Company, circa July 1, 1895, a year or two after R.S. and M.C. were in business. Documented as a historical fact is the following statement, “the open arc searchlight was started early in the history of The Carlisle & Finch Co., and we are confident that we were the first people to use a horizontal arc for a marine searchlight.”
At the beginning of World War I the Company could only obtain materials for the war effort, i.e., marine lighting, in particular searchlights many contracts were received from the U.S. Government as well as large orders from foreign countries such as Greece, Spain, Norway, Russia, and others.
Since that time in 1895, The Carlisle & Finch Company has become the world leader for the highest quality and brightest searchlights made. The Company enhanced its reputation as the industry leader when it pioneered the development of high intensity xenon arc searchlights.
Today, the Company is being run by the fourth Generation team of 2-brothers, Kurtis B. Finch – President, and Garth S. Finch – Senior Vice President. This owner/management team is continuing to lead the Company to remain the standard for our US Navy and Coast Guard (including aid to navigation coastal lighting), the national and international commercial marine industries, as well as the world’s most prestigious yacht builders.
According to carlislefinch.com; en.wikipedia.org. Source of photos: internet