Carlisle & Finch
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Founded in 1894 by Robert Finch and Morton Carlisle, the company had two products, an electric toy train and a carbon arc searchlight. It was particularly known for the DCB-224 aero beacon, which is no longer produced. The trains, which entered the marketplace in 1897, stood about 5.5 inches tall, were made of metal, colorful, and highly detailed, and ran on metal track with rails two inches apart. They were the first complete electric-powered trains to be introduced to the marketplace.
Three other smaller, short-lived U.S. toy train manufacturers, including Voltamp, adopted Carlisle & Finch's 2-inch track. Carlisle & Finch's offerings were by definition non-standard, its status as the inventor of the electric train notwithstanding.
At the beginning of World War I, the United States government ordered Carlisle and Finch to cease toy train production in order to concentrate on producing searchlights for the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard. At the end of the war, the company did not resume toy train production, choosing instead to concentrate on its profitable searchlight business. Within a decade, it was the largest producer of military searchlights in the country.
Finch bought out Carlisle's share of the company in 1917. Over the ensuing decades, it began producing equipment for civilian use, with its searchlights being used in lighthouses and on offshore oil rigs.
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