Antique Lamp Rorschach Test

October 29th, 2010

This antique lantern, posted by  KyKathy, has prompted quite a bit of speculation on Show & Tell around what, exactly, it was designed to light. She says this 6-inch tall lamp appears to be made of brass and it has a bolt on the back (seen here) to fasten it to … something. It’s got very thick glass and a fuel tank, probably for kerosene.

What’s fun about this lantern is that it looks like so many things to so many people. Current theories include:

  • A lantern used by coal miners
  • A very early car headlight
  • A removable bicycle lamp
  • A lantern used by railroads

What do you think it is? What does it bolt to? Do you think the handle on top is for carrying, or do you think it’s really for opening the top?

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