Whale Oil
Light Bulb
Since 1880s
                                 A Primer On Early Lighting 
                                                                                                              by Bill Henderson
     As the 19th Century began candles were the most common source of indoor lighting.  In between the candle and the bulb were three types of lamps distinguished by their fuel source and burners.
     During the 1820s to the 1850s, the early lamps used whale oil.  This led to a boom in the whaling industry & high quality whale oil was supplied. 
     Another household fuel was camphine, called 'burning fluid'.  A mixture of turpentine & alcohol, it was quite volatile, but it burned brighter than whale oil without the smell.
     Shades were not used on most whale oil and camphine burners.  Their open flame was just basically a brighter form of candle light.
     By 1859 crude oil was discovered in Pennsylvania.  The kerosene from there remained the standard lighting fuel into the 20th century.  Kerosene was contained in the 'font' of the lamp.  It was not cheap but it was superior to candles.  The kerosene lamp was the only one of the three that used a wick, resulting in more control of the brightness of the flame and it was much safer than camphine.  By the Civil War most households had a lamp or two. 
     All three of these type lamps can be found today. There are many sources of the burner apparatus for kerosene lamps which function just as the originals.  The diameter of the oil lamp collars (where the burner screws in) are designated as #1, #2 & #3.  This dictates the chimney base diameter.
      Table lamps of the flint glass era were called 'stand lamps' & they sometimes matched pressed tableware in design.  Later pressed lamps were made in 'hand' aka 'finger' and 'stand' forms.
      As the Century ended, the electric light bulb was the preferred lighting source, but kerosene lamps were still the most widely available.
      Lamps heights are generally measured from the table top to the top of the collar without the burner in place.

                  Damage to these lamps, if any, is mentioned in the listing.  The prices do not include the cost of shipping & insurance.  Learn how easy it is to purchase from by clicking HERE.
                  To see more flint glass lamps, please go HERE.
POST aka Square Panes is a pattern made by Adams & Co. ca. 1882.
This lamp is 10" tall to the top of the collar.  It appears to have the original burner.
The glass is very clear but looks cloudy in the photos.
This is an interesting lamp because it was made with a hollow stem and came with 
artificial flowers & a fitting that held the flowers up into the stem.  Those are long gone
but the next owner can choose the floral color & arrangement for the next period of time.  We chose to put yellow flowers in it for the photos but they are just being held in there
with scotch tape so you can get creative - holly for Christmas, etc. $175
PS: We have a cake stand in this pattern with the same
potentially pretty standard seen HERE.
THOUSAND EYE by Richards & Hartley ca. 1885.
Here is a rather scarce form of this pattern. It was made to sit in a metal holder. It is 6" in diameter & even has the points between the "eyes" like the
Sensation aka Adams' Thousand Eye pattern.
See the small raised portion on top of the glass? It has a cork in it
and that is where the lamp oil was poured into the main section.
There is a fracture in the top from in-the-making seen HERE. $65
is a flint Boston Sandwich Glass Co. stand lamp ca. 1850. It is 10" tall with a metal standard and a marble base.

This 9" stand lamp is called KING COMET VARIANT by Thuro. 
It is a product of the King Glass Co. and made ca. 1898.  It has a new burner
and is $125.
A chimney can be
added for $13.

We are uncertain of the maker
or the age of this pretty 10" tall milk glass and cobalt blue lamp.  The base appears to possibly
be by L G Wright but they did
not make a blown cobalt font. 
The collar is early brass like
in Thuro I p. 39 & it
has a double rib burner.  $85
APOLLO aka Shield Band aka Canadian Horseshoe aka Frosted Festal Ball aka Thumbprint and Prisms (whew).
This is a pair of Adams' Glass Co. patterned lamps in sapphire blue made ca. 1875. 
They are 7" tall. 
It is very rare to find a pair of colored
EAPG lamps. The pair $535.

ARTICHOKE aka Valencia  -
a scarce stand lamp in this Fostoria
Glsss Co. ca. 1890-1896. It is 9 1/2" tall and in totally undamaged condition.
The artichoke is clear & not frosted.
Priced $200 below 'book value' at

CURRIER & IVES aka Eulalia pattern
was made by the
Cooperative Flint Glass Company. 
It is 10" tall.  $175
THE HERO  aka Ruby Rosette - However this lamp is obviously emerald green & not ruby.  It is a product of the Elson Glass Co. ca. 1891.  It is 10 1/2" tall. 
This is Riverside Glass Works' lamp pattern RIB BAND.
It is 8 " tall & has patent dates
on the collar of "Sept 19, 1882 and Dec 4, 1883.  It has a
queen burner #1. $125
A chimney can be added for $15.
This shorty hand lamp is only 5 1/4" tall. It is called the GLOBE LOMAX HAND LAMP or the LOMAX KITCHEN HAND LAMP.  It is described in
Thuro I pp 178 - 179.  The patent date in the base is shown in the 3rd photo. 
It says "PAT'D SEP. 20 1870".  There is a drip catcher flange around
the top & it has a Queen Anne #1 burner.  $150
ARGUS aka Early Argus could be a product of the Boston Sandwich or the New England Glass Co. ca. 1850s.  It is 10" tall with the footed base.
See two photos of the underside HERE and HERE. $195
AQUARIS AMBER is a 9" stand lamp made by Adams Glass Co. & the
U S Glass Co. ca. 1893.  It has design elements similar to the Wildflower pattern also made by Adams. 
And it was made in all the same
colors as the Wildflower pattern. 
It is described in Thuro I pg 315 & 322 and Thuro II pg 120.  $235
DOUBLE ARCH is 8" tall, made by
King Glass Co. or O'Hara, according to
Revi.  It is described in Thuro I
page 316 & supposedly was made to look
like earlier flint lamps.... and indeed it
does feel heavy like them.
Teardrop with Eyewinkers
is a rather obscure pattern and even more scarce in emerald green.  In fact, the clear is shown in Thuro's book, pg 250 but green is not mentioned. This is the fancy variation of the lamp because it has the "plume font".  The second photo is an attempt to show the 'serrated teardrop'.  There is a very flat flake completely under the base not seen from the side HERE, but seen underneath HERE and although hardly noticeable, a couple of the tiny beads at the base are gone.
RING PUNTY is an early flint lamp from ca. 1859.  It is shown in Thuro
Book at 85-g.  It is 8 1/2" tall.  The base is flint milk glass & it has a small chip at the top of the milk glass, seen HERE.  There are also a couple of very flat flakes underneath the base hard to see, HERE.  $265
NEW JERSEY aka Loops & Drops
States' pattern made by the
U S Glass Co. ca. 1900.
This is a tiny little lamp made
from a shaker & is complete with
a chimney. **SOLD**
SWIRL aka Ray by McKee
ca. 1890s is non-flint & 7" tall.
It comes with a chimney
SHELDON SWIRL Lamp aka Reverse Swirl pattern set of the 3 matching rare pieces. The cruet has the original stopper, the syrup pitcher has a good metal lid & the Sheldon Swirl Lamp is flawless. The set is $775.
TORPEDO aka Pigmy aka Fish Eye pattern was made by the Thompson Glass
Co. ca. 1889, their pattern #17. We have two of this patterned lamp
both of which have the pattern on the font, the stand and the base. 
Seen In Thuro I pg 290.
The one on the left is 7 1/2" tall & $95.
The one on the right is 9 1/2" tall & $115.
This magnificent pair of 10 3/4” tall caryatid candlesticks are of draped female figures each carrying what appears to be a paint pallet with 3 brushes in their left hand, see HERE.  The glass is frosted & we are told they are products of Vallerysthal in Europe from the latter 19th century. They are in undamaged condition with no chips, cracks or discoloration, no cloudiness and no discernible edge roughness so common to glass of this vintage.  See the base HERE.  The pair is $115.
is a Cambridge Glass Co. product ca. 1915. It is a scarce form of this
pattern. It is a 7" tall candlestick & has 2 chips under the base. $42
TEPEE aka NEMESIS aka ARIZONA a lamp shade,
4" tall & 4 1/4" diam. at flared edge. There is a small chip on
the ring that fits inside the
lamp holder. Geo. Duncan's
Sons & Co. made this pattern
ca. 1897. $55

MARDI GRAS aka Empire aka
Duncan #42 was made by Duncan & Sons
ca. 1890s.  It measures 4 1/2" high. 
We have this one that is frosted on
the outside of the lower part and another
one that is frosted all over on the inside.  They are $45 each.

     The lamps below are not for sale.  They have all been electrified (without any
damage to the original lamp) and are in use.  They are pictured here to show
a little more variety in 19th century lamps.
Thousand Eye aka Daisy aka Three Knob lamps
Left - amber font & base.  Center - blue font & base.
Right - apple green font & blue base.
Cranberry font & satin fluted cranberry shade.
These prices do not include the cost of shipping & insurance. 
To see more flint lamps, please go