Dating oil lamps
They are made from redware (pottery), reverse painted glass, hand painted milk glass and metals ranging from cast spelter to tin.The pictured antique oil lamps (from left to right) show a milk glass stem with an amber glass font; a reverse painted stem with a clear glass font; a hand painted milk glass stem with a clear glass font and finally a redware stem with a roughened (frosted) glass font.It has been estimated that up to 3,000 different designs were made but many of these had a limited production run.Even taking this into consideration, it would be fairly safe to say that at least 1,000 different patterned glass kerosene lamps were produced in significant numbers during this period. From miniatures to finger lamps, small and large hand lamps, massive sewing lamps and even banquet lamps. Amber, blue, cranberry and emerald green glass were also popular but produced in fewer numbers.
Fuels used in lamps changed through the years; whale oil (1800-1840), camphene (1828), Argand (1830), lard (1833-1863), solar (1843-1860s), turpentine and alcohol (1840s), gas (1850-1879), kerosene (1860), and electricity (1879) are the most common. Other lamps are listed by manufacturer or type of material.This allowed great flexibility in the choice of materials, form and design and resulted in a widely diverse range being produced.From the traditional English and European styles to multi-sectioned glass banquet lamps and the more rustic wrought iron range, all tastes were catered for.We have grouped our antique oil lamps into general categories.Simply click on the title to see lamps from within that category.
In practical terms, this made it much easier to fill the lamp, maintain the burner and reduced the likelihood of damage and breakage.