Monday, June 17, 2013

O is for Oil Lamps

What is it about the oil lamp's appeal?  Beyond just providing light, these lovely vintage items are a testament to the ingenuity of a time gone by.  All standing oil lamps consist of a pedestal with stem and base,  a hollow font (oil vessel), a burner and chimney. Beyond their utilitarian purpose, they draw the eye to the beauty of ordinary objects that have been decorated and designed to be cherished.

Emerging during the 'kerosene era',  oil lamps came into being during the late 1850's when petroleum fuel was introduced as an affordable alternative to whale oil.  Glassmakers at the time produced literally thousands of beautifully detailed lamps, including artful shades with elegant wick raisers gracing unique patterned glass designs.  These lamps represent a quality and variety that has been unparalleled in glassware produced in America.  The lamps were a staple in US households through the 1940's and still serve as source of light in remote rural areas.  Amish continue to use oil lamps as do others who appreciate the lamp's distinctive glow - softly luminous and steady;  a comforting symbol of family and friendship from days gone by.  

Vintage oil lamps are easily found and range from $75 to $300, with some rare patterns topping $1000.

Happy Hunting!


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