Antique and vintage lamps span a broad spectrum, including well known-styles like Victorian and slag glass and leading names like Tiffany, Handel, and Aladdin. Values vary greatly and reproductions abound, so do your homework.

The earliest type of lamp, the oil lamp, was a simplistic vessel with an absorbent wick. These were mass-produced starting in the 19th century. Manufacturers typically made the metal base and burner and bought the glass from another manufacturer.

Between the 1840s and the early 1900s, during the Victorian era, oil lamps and candelabras coexisted with early electric lamps. In 1908, Aladdin Industries Inc. created the Aladdin lamp, an oil lamp so bright that no one was able to find another oil lamp that compared, despite Aladdin's offer of a thousand dollars if they could.

The biggest development in lamps toward the end of the 1800s was the growing popularity of ornate glass lampshades, often with floral imagery. Lamps started to become a decorative, rather than just functional, item. Slag glass (pressed glass with milky stripes), for example, became popular in England and America, and many lamp companies used it to create beautiful lamp shades.

Decorative table and floor lamps reached the height of their popularity in the U.S. in the first two decades of the 20th century, spurred by the success of Tiffany and its Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau competitors, like Handel.

Tiffany and others made bronze and gilt-bronze lamp bases, often simulating plants or tree trunks, and floral or other naturalistic art glass shades with colorful iridescent glass pieces leaded together. Thousands of Tiffany lamps were made, and they're highly collectible today. By the 1920s, many lamp designers had started to shift to Art Deco styles, characterized by angular lines and squared glass or paper shades. Also common were deco figural lamps with stems made to look like people.

Post WWII, mid-century lamps tended to be simpler (Eames), sillier (TV lamps) or groovier (lava lamps). Eames lamps were often made of metal and featured long, narrow, and sometimes wavy stems. Lamps with multiple bulbs and lamps with swiveling necks were also common. So-called TV lamps were also popular in the 1950s. Typically made of ceramic or plaster, these were backlit decorative sculptures created in the shape of animals, people, and plants...

Lava lamps, an icon of the 1960s and 70s, combined heated wax, chemicals, and dyed water to create lava-like imagery. Lava lamps were used more for decoration than for lighting.

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    

Vintage Industrial Light / Lamp - Reclaimed Iron & Ali Pendant With Glass LensRare Antique 1920's Roycroft Arts & Crafts Period Copper Micah Helmet Table LampVintage Industrial Light / Lamp - Explosion Proof Glass Dome Pendant - SmallA Pair 1950s Vintage Mid Century Modern Gerald Thurston For Stiffel Table LampsVintage Industrial Light - Copper Desk Lamp With Glass Lens From Usa - Pauluhn!Tiffany Studios Butterfly Enamel Favrile Glass Damascene Shade LampVintage Industrial Pendant Light - Brass Search Light-hanging Lamp-glass LensAntique Victorian Reverse Painted River Valley Panel Glass Estate Parlor LampAntique American Art Deco 1930s Chromium Adjustable Desk Lamp Machine Age ModernAntique American Art Deco 1930s Bakelite Boudoir Lamps Machine Age Modernist Nr1920s Art Deco Diana Lamp Chrome, Bakelite. Stunning Multi-coloured Czech. ShadeLtd Ed 272/500 Aladdin Fenton Red 1996 Golden Ruby Lamp, Electrified W/ CoaAntique Scene-in-action Corp Cast Iron Motion Lamp Mountain Lake Moon WorksVintage Majestic Retro Space Age Mid Century Danish Modern Lamp 1950s No ReserveDanish Pine Laminate Ceiling Lamp Mid Century Fog & Murop Jabosson 60s 70s EraAladdin Model B-83 Ruby Crystal "beehive" Kerosene Mantle LampOriginal 1930s Art Deco Cream Bakelite Table Lamp With Stylish Sunburst ShadeAntique Stained Glass Figural Nude Lady Silhouette Boudoir Lamp Vtg Art DecoLtd Ed 177 Of 500 Aladdin Fenton Blue 1994 Kerosene Lamp Mod.23 Burner, CompleteAntique American Arts & Crafts Hammered Copper Bungalow Era Table Lamp Fine FormAntique Handlan Prr Lantern W/cobalt Blue Globe Pennsylvania Railroad Lamp Wonderful C. 1910 Bradley & Hubbard Reverse Painted Slag Glass Table Lamp 17"Rare Early 1920's "radialamp" Radio Horn Speaker Hidden Inside A Working LampAntique Aladdin Hanging Oil Lamp , Original 616 ShadeC1900 Austrian Bronze Patina Figural Lamp Orientalist Style Arab Merchant SceneAntique Majolica Figural Stork Crane Table Lamp Wedgwood MintonAntique Early 20thc Handel Reverse Painted Shade Boidoir Lamp W/ Bronzed BasePair Of Art Deco Bakelite Bedside / Wall Lamps Vintage Mid Century 30s 40s 50sArts & Crafts Mission Oak Table Lamp With Slag GlassAntique Stangl Art Pottery Parrot Parakeet Lovebirds Figural Desk Table Lamp Nr White Alacite Model B Cathedral Aladdin Kerosene Lamp W/teal Shade, Crested ChmyAntique Victorian Charles Parker # 4 Portable Heater Oil Lamp Meridan Conn.Antique Hand Painted Roses Gone With The Wind Oil Kerosene Table Parlor LampAladdin Model B Cream Alacite Ring Foot Glass Font Lamp In Brass Wall BracketAntique Rare Signed Handel Gwtw Parlor Oil Lamp FabulousArts & Crafts 12 Panel Caramel & Ruby Red Slag Glass LampRare Victorian Slag Glass Table Lamp Torchiere Design Lincoln Drapes Art NouveauVintage Industrial Light / Lamp - Solid Brass Explosion Proof Pendant Antique Early 20thc Arts & Crafts Pink Flower Slag Glass Lamp Riveted Iron BaseSuperb Antique Messenger Brass 20" Corinthian Column Oil Or Electric Lamp BaseOutstanding Arts & Crafts Handel Era Bigelow Era Leaded Glass Lamp ShadePr Great 19th C. Brass Cut Glass Crystal Argand Astral Solar Oil Lamps Rare Victorian Slag Glass Table Lamp Art Nouveau Floral Vines Poppies AntiqueHeintz Art Bronze & Sterling Silver Poppy Art & Crafts Boudoir Lamp & ShadeIndustrial Parabolic Tripod Hollywood Spotlight Floor Lamp With Gold Inner ShadeFenton Art Glass 1988 "birds Of Winter" Series Lamp, Plate, Bell & Clock - Lqqk!Vintage Industrial Light / Lamp - Reclaimed Iron & Ali Pendant With Glass Lens 2Vintage Gas / Oil Shade / Quilted Cranberry / Banquet Lamp Or Ceiling Fixture NrPair Vintage Mid Century Table Lamp Murano Art Glass Dino Martens TosoLot 9 Pcs Waterford Crystal Lismore & Alana-celery Dish,hurricane Lamps,glass+Antique 18th Century Iron Betty Lamp Lantern Hook Spike Fine Early Piece AafaDurand Steuben Art Glass Heart Leaf & Vine Lamp Shades Rare AmericanAntique Rainaud Bent Slag Glass Panel Shade Lamp W/ Spider Web Filigree Pattern1920s Cast Iron Art Deco Pin-up Girl Figural Lamp With Original Leather Shade NrFenton Burmese Maple Leaf 1pc Fairy Lamp Circa 1970- 71 Selling No Reserve! Wow!Antique Signed Bradley & Hubbard Slag Glass Table Lamp Two Socket Chain PullA Rare Tall French Art Deco 'odeon Dancer' Lamp, By Molins Balleste, C1925Outstanding 1930s French Art Deco Elephant Sculpture Table Lamp, Mood LightC.t. Ham Mfg Co Antique Oil Lamp Auto Lantern Motorcycle Bicycle Diamond La4~way Adlake Signal Switch Lantern Railroad Caboose Kerosene Lamp Antique Old!

Recent News: Lamps

Source: Google News

Watertown man accused of damaging household items
WatertownDailyTimes.com, September 26th

Police said that during the incident, Mr. Goolden split a guitar in half and smashed an antique lamp, wall mirror and porcelain statue. Later, he allegedly took a can of wood stain and poured it over cloth chairs in the home's dining room, then threw...Read more

Watertown Police Department:
Newzjunky.com, September 26th

He is accused of damaging several plates, a guitar which he broke in half, an antique lamp which was smashed on a floor, a porcelain statue also smashed on the floor, a wall-mounted mirror which was cracked and poured a can of stain all over cloth...Read more

Discarded items find new uses at South Shore Shabby Shack
TBO.com, September 23rd

A child's dress purchased for pennies at a yard sale is transformed into a shabby chic shade for an antique lamp. A burlap bag is turned into a trendy stenciled seat cover for a chalk-painted Louis XV chair. And an old headboard rescued from a trash...Read more

October 2014 Issue Product Guide
House Beautiful (blog), September 16th

Mirror, antique. Lamp on chest, throw on sofa, vintage. Floor lamp—Mecox; mecox.com. Sconce, Gloria—Paul Ferrante (T);paulferrante.com. Kitchen: Wall, cabinet, trim, and ceiling color, Ivory White—Benjamin Moore; benjaminmoore.com. Fabric on Roman ...Read more

What Is Taylor Swift Really Reinventing In Her Rolling Stone Profile?
The Wire, September 8th

It's a smaller reinvention, but still notable because she has an antique lamp in her apartment inscribed with the phrase CALADIUM SEGUINUM. She would have known it means "a homeopathic remedy for male impotence" if only she had remembered how to ...Read more

Mr. Smith's Auctions Off Most of Its Stuff
Washington City Paper (blog), September 8th

If you want a piece of Mr. Smith's, now's your chance to snag an antique lamp or stained glass window. The Georgetown restaurant closed its M Street NW location after nearly 50 years at the end of last month and has already relocated to a new space...Read more

Pelini: NU has options at right tackle
Scottsbluff Star Herald, August 28th

Coach Bo Pelini won't yet rule out junior right tackle Zach Sterup, who's missed a considerable amount of practice the last couple weeks with a right leg injury. The team's top right tackle heading into preseason camp could "possibly" make an...Read more

Official reports bigger crowds at Kearney Archway
Scottsbluff Star Herald, August 28th

After some re-organization, the Kearney Archway opened again this March with a new, closer, exit leading to it from I-80. Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:00 pm. Official reports bigger crowds at Kearney Archway Associated Press |. KEARNEY, Neb...Read more