At the turn of the 20th century, light was still considered a somewhat supernatural commodity. Edison’s light bulb remained a work-in-progress, and the grid to power his new invention barely existed. Thus, a product that would provide users with safe, predictable, and economical illumination needed a name that suggested nothing short of a miracle, like the one that surprised a young lad in a cave, as told in the famous Middle-Eastern folk tale about a boy and his magic lamp. Thus, in 1908, Aladdin Industries Inc. was born.

Founded as the Mantle Lamp Company of America, Aladdin was one of the first U.S. companies to manufacture a kerosene lamp that produced incandescent light by heating a mantle, which is a small piece of cloth that’s been soaked in a variety of metal oxides. The mantle would be heated until it was white hot and glowed, and unlike other fuel lamps of the day, the Aladdin lamp did not require pumping to keep the fuel tank pressurized, it produced no smoke or odor, and the light source itself did not flicker.

The Mantle Lamp Company actually started out selling Practicus table lamps imported from Germany, but by 1909, it had introduced its first Aladdin lamp, which quickly made the company famous. Chicago-based Aladdin hired Plume & Atwood of Waterbury, Connecticut, to build its first brass table lamps, a practice that continued into the 1920s.

Aladdin’s earliest lamps had tall glass chimneys and brass- or nickel-plated bases. The first few models went unmarked, but beginning with Model 5 in 1913, the model number was stamped on the lamp’s wick-raising knob. Of the early models, the first lamps made between 1909 and 1910 are the toughest to collect, but the Model 2 lamps made between September and December of 1910 are actually fairly common. Also tough to find are Models 3 (1911 to 1912) and 10 (1921 to 1922).

In 1919, Aladdin began to diversify its product line, producing thermoses and other domestic items that would eventually lead to its dominance of the school-lunch-box market in the 1950s. But more important to lamp collectors was the purchase, in 1926, of Lippincott Glass. This acquisition allowed Aladdin to manufacture its own chimneys, lampshades, and bases, whose designs are still considered classics of the form.

The vase kerosene lamps from 1930 to 1935 are among the most collectible. Because these lamps had a removable brass fuel pot, the glass bases were prone to chipping, which makes a pristine Aladdin vase lamp from this period a real find. Of these, the short (8 ½-inches tall) Florentine is perhaps the most prized. It was produced in moonstone glass in green, white, or rose (the insides of these vases were painted white, which was even more prone to wear and tear than the vases themselves).

Also collectible are the Venetian Art Craft lamps from this period, especially the ones from 1932 with the so-called straw finishes. Taller than the Florentines, the Venetian Art...

Later in the decade, in 1938, Aladdin introduced its Vertique line, which, like the Venetians, featured lamps that were made of two pieces, only this time the joint was masked by a decorative metal band. Named for the lamp’s vertical ridges, Vertiques were sold in a range of colors including yellow, whose uranium coloring in the glass glowed in the dark when exposed to a black light.

That same year, an ivory, opalescent glass called Alacite was introduced. For the first few years of the product’s life, it was also colored with uranium oxide, but the recipe for the glass changed in 1942 when uranium was reserved for the nation’s war effort. Today, collectors talk about "old formula" and "new formula" when they describe a piece of Alcalite in their collections. Like the yellow Vertiques, old-formula Alcalites glow under a black light.

Old or new, Alacite was a very successful glass for Aladdin. In fact, the most popular Aladdin kerosene lamp ever made was the Alcalite tall Lincoln drape, made throughout the 1940s.

Aladdin made lots of other glass kerosene lamps, the Washington Drape and Simplicity being just two of the most enduring styles. But the company also made one kerosene lamp out of porcelain. Called the Victoria, the lamp featured the same floral decal found on some of the Simplicity models, and had gold-painted bands on its fluted pedestal.

The range of Aladdin electric lamps from the 1930s to the mid-1950s is no less varied than that of its kerosene models. With glass bases and Whip-o-Lite or Parvelour parchment shades, these boudoir, table, and floor lamps came in a dizzying array of shapes and styles. Vogue was one of the company’s most popular brand names, although many adults probably know Aladdin for the Hopalong Cassidy lamps and nightlights they may have had as kids. In addition to moonstone (its trade name was actually Aladex) and Alacalite, some of Aladdin’s lamps were made of a glass called Velvex, which had a mottled appearance.

Other Aladdin electric lamps were made out of an opalescent glass called Opalique, which was a play on both the appearance of the glass and a nod to the famous French designer René Lalique. In fact, Aladdin produced numerous Art Deco, Lalique-inspired lamps, whose bases often featured nudes—from the sculptural G-70 model to the pair of crystal nudes on the G-163 to the G-77 Susie lamp, whose base itself was illuminated, although these are rare and difficult to find.

By 1956, Aladdin had made its last electric lamps. The company continued to manufacture kerosene lamps in the United States until 1963, when brass bases began to be imported from England. By 1977 all manufacturing had moved to Hong Kong, and in 1999, Aladdin Industries sold its legendary lamp division to a group of investors, who renamed their business Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company and continue to produce non-electric Aladdin lamps today.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Lampworks

The Lampworks

Lamp collector and dealer Dan Edminster has put together an incredible reference site on antique lamps and related … [read review or visit site]

Texans Incorporated: The History of a Lamp Company

Texans Incorporated: The History of a Lamp Company

Mark Stevens has created an impressive living memorial to Texans Inc., a 20th century Texas manufacturer of ceramic… [read review or visit site]

The Lamps of H. G. McFaddin

The Lamps of H. G. McFaddin

Bruce Bleier's tribute to the Emeralite and Bellova lampshades made from Czech glass and popularized and distribute… [read review or visit site]

Fairy Lamp Club

Fairy Lamp Club

This incredible site is a stunning showcase for Victorian and contemporary fairy lamps, a style of lamp with a glas… [read review or visit site]

Gas Pressure Lanterns, Lamps and Stoves

Gas Pressure Lanterns, Lamps and Stoves

Terry Marsh’s beautiful showcase of gas-pressure lanterns, lamps, stoves, irons, and heaters from the 1920s o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare C.1850 Cornelius And Co Oil Lamp Astral Solar Kerosene Whale Aladdin LikeBeautiful Aladdin Corinthian Amber Oil Lamp W/ Glass Shade Nu-type B BurnerAladdin Lamp Yellow Moonstone Vertique Corinthian Vintage Very OldAladdin Oil/kerosene Lamp - Rose Moonstone B-87 VertiqueAntique Aladdin Ruby Red Tall Lincoln Drape Oil Kero Lamp B BurnerVintage Aladdin Beehive Kerosene Oil Lamps PairAladdin Clear Crystal Lincoln Drape Oil Lamp B74 Nickel Plate BurnerPretty Ca. 1933 Green Crystal Glass Colonial Hobnail Aladdin Mantle Oil LampNice Antique Aladdin Orientale Model B Oil Table Lamp W/ Burner And GlobeAladdin Solid Brass Model 23 Lamp Burner W Box New Old Stock - Made In England Vintage Aladdin Oil Lamp Nu-type Model B With Handpainted ShadeDisney D23 Expo 2015 Designer Art Of Jasmine Aladdin Lamp Boxed Pin SetAntique Aladdin Model B Burner Kerosene Floor Lamp 50" TallAladdin Oil Lamp, B-121, MajesticAladdin Alacite Electric Lamp Glass Finial - Plume - 1949Vintage Original Aladdin Clear Glass Kerosene Oil Lamp Lox-on Chimney 3 Line Nr1940's Original Alacite Tall Lincoln Drape Aladdin Kerosene Mantle Lamp Farm Aladdin Lantern Oil Lamp Loxon Mantle Wick #r-150 Models 12-b-c-14-21c 23 & 23cAladdin Corinthian Lamp W/ Model B Burner Vintage Aladdin Corinthian Oil Lamp9 Panel Vintage 10" White Milk Glass Oil Lamp Shade Fits Aladdin StudentAntique Aladdin Floor Lamp 45" Tall 13" Wide No BurnerVintage Aladdin White Corinthian Oil Lamp W Nu Type Model B BurnerAladdin ~ Oil Kerosene Lamp ~ Hand Blown Oil Filler Bottle ~ Antique LightingAntique Complete Aladdin Hurricane Oil Lamp Original And NiceVintage Washington Drape Green Aladdin Oil Lamp BaseVintage Cherry Red Glass Shade For An Aladdin 23 Oil Lamp Original Bohemia LabelBi Aladdin Model 305 Brass Frame Wd 1952 Pressure Lamp Lamp Spare Part Vintage Aladdin Green Beehive Oil Lamp W/ Model-b Burner - 12.5" Lox-on ChimneyVintage Aladdin Orientale Kerosene Lamp And Model B Burner - Look!!Aladdin Lox On Chimney For Vintage Kerosene Mantle Lamp Model 12 A B C 21c Nos 1940's Original Aladdin Kerosene Mantle Lamp 10" Shade Ring Tripod Part Farm Aladdin Model 23 Brass Kerosene Mantle Lamp With Flower Shade & ChimneyAladdin Oil Lamp, Model 100, VenetianCoal Miners Cloth Hat, Justrite Areamlined Carbide Lamp And Aladdin Lunch PailVintage Aladdin Lamp Corinthian Model B Nu Type (1935-1936)Vintage Aladdin Model B, Washington Drape Lamp /w Burner & WickVintage Electric Ribbed Glass Aladdin Table Lamp G-152 AmberAladdin Model 12 Lamp Base With Burner & WickVintage Aladdin Oil Lamp W Wall Bracket Vintage Brass Burner Wick And Gallery For An Aladdin 23 Oil LampVintage Glass Aladdin Table Lamp Blue Soft Peach Salmon Vintage Glass Loxon Chimney Funnel For An Aladdin 23 Oil LampAladdin Oil Lamp, B-75 Tall Lincoln DrapeAntique Hand Painted Pull Down Retractable Victorian Oil Lamp 19th C Aladdin B&hAladdin Lamp - Pink MoonstoneLot Of(10)oil Lamp Misc Flame Spreaders&1aladdin Wick CleanerVintage Electric Glass Aladdin Table Lamp G-17-16 Urn StyleBeautiful Vintage Glass 1940's Wheat Alacite Aladdin Lamp Finial. Vintage Aladdin Oil Lamp Original Unused Lox On Glass Chimney W Orig BoxVintage Aladdin Oil Lamp Lantern Part Lox On Mantle Models 12 B CAladdin Oil LampVintage Aladdin Blue & White Handpainted Glass Oil Lamp Shade-10 In.Vintage Aladdin Model B, Beehive Lamp /w Burner & WickVintage Aladdin No.23 Oil Lamp Chrome FinishVintage Brass Model B Aladdin Oil Lamp Burner Complete Kerosene *Vintage Electric Glass Aladdin Table Lamp G-31-41 AmberVintage Brass Aladdin #23 Oil Lamp W/chimney Marked Excellence ReliabilityAntique Collectible Fancy Aladdin Model 12 Oil Lamp Base Nickel ? (must See)Aladdin Alacite Wheat Or Wheat Staff Lamp Finial 3-1/2"