Kerosene lamps that delighted Americans in the last half of the 19th Century provided light and colorful decor. The lamps were manufactured in England, France, Canada and the United States, with the favorite style made of glass or glass in combination with other materials such as bronze, brass or marble. The glass lamps were either clear or colored in white, blue, turquoise, pink, rose, amber and green.
As might be expected during an era when Americans were drawn to the innovative, some kerosene lamps were designed for specific uses, such as reading and sewing.
The miniature lamp-4 1/2 to 6 inches tall-served as a night light or, more romantically, as a “sparking lamp.“
Supposedly only a small amount of oil was put into the lamp`s font when a suitor came to call. When the light went out, he knew it was time to leave. Kerosene lamps of the 19th and early 20th Century merit collecting.
When safely used, with chimney and burner in good working order and with a tight-fitting collar, kerosene lamps are handy to have around for emergency lighting.
Kerosene lamps also can be electrified. They make a charming bridge between past and present and they can heighten the coziness of countrified rooms abundant with textured plaid or checkered fabrics. When lighted, they enhance the mellow appeal of cherrywood chests, tavern tables and other antique furniture.
Fortunately, there are many desirable lamps sited for conversion to electricity-without cracks in the glass or marble parts or splits in metal components-available at antiques shows and shops.
They generally range in price from under $50 to $250. Colored glass lamps are frequently higher priced than clear glass ones, and rare art-glass lamps can cost hundreds of dollars.
It is difficult to identify the maker of a lamp, as so many factories made the similar patterns or sold separate parts to other firms.-