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

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Pairpoint Table Lamp, Reversed Painted Roses Butterfly Puffy Glass ShadeVintage Moon Lamp Danish Modern Panton Pine Laminate Mid Century Jakobsson 60s Antique Edward Miller Nouveau Cast Iron Scenic Slag Glass Lamp Arts & Crafts Yqz1970s Rosewood Wall Lamp Danish Modern Mid Century Eames Wegner Vintage 60s EraSuperb Original Art Deco Lady Figure Lamp - Rare Double Figure!Rare Frankart, Nuart, Art Deco Art Nouveau Iron Fish Bowl Floor Lamp, JadeiteColeman 639c Kerosene Lantern Iccc. LampArts & Crafts Era Tiffany Studios Geometric Leaded Stained Slag Glass Lamp ShadeThree Antique Bicycle Headlights, Ea Horn Lamp, 1890s Search Light, Teens LightVintage 1957 Econolite Motion Light Snow Scene Lamp With Bridge Church + Horses Small Oil Lamp Sconce Fitting Kosmos Burner Crackle Glass Cranberry Font & ShadeModo Table Lamp Black Roll And Hill Dwr Design Within Reach Modern LightingAntique Quality Chinese Carved Teakwood & Marble Pedestal Table For Statue, Lamp1927 Antique Art Deco Era Bronzed Boat Amber Pebble Glass Ferryman Gondola LampVintage Ww1 Military Issue Lucas Petroleum Silver King Bicycle Lamp & Nr!1940’s Dodge Vintage Hawaiian Hula Girl Motion LampOriginal Antique 1930s Art Deco Chromed Brass Skyscraper Style Lamp BaseVaseline Cut To Clear / Lime Green/ Uranium / Boston Sandwich Glass Oil LampAntique Bent Slag Glass Panel Lamp #6 A&r Co Rainaud E Miller Bradley & HubbardMid Century Modern Eames Era Danish Wood Table Lamp Pearsall Inspired Pair YqzArts&crafts,nouveau,b&h,miller,handel Era Lighthouse Leaded Slag Glass Lamp Very Rare Jaeger Lecoultre Rue De La Paix 8-day Street Light / Lamp Post ClockSuperb 62 Cm Antique French Style Lead Glass Crystal Chandelier Lighting LampAntique Duffner & Kimberly Leaded Stained Glass & Bronze Wall Sconce LampRare C.1850 Cornelius And Co Oil Lamp Astral Solar Kerosene Whale Aladdin LikeGenuine Old Art Deco Lady Lamp - Signed - Elischer - Very Rare - L@@k19thc Antique Victorian Ruby Red Swirl Glass & Brass Pull Down Chandelier LampArt Nouveau Czech Beads Glass Light Leaves Lamp Antique Green & Pink ShadeVintage Early 20th C Fenton Burmese 3pc Fairy Lamp Light Cased Satin Glass VgVintage Orient & Flume Pulled Feather Art Glass Shade W Buffalo Metal Works LampRare Doulton Lambeth Stoneware Oil Lamp Font & Brass Hoof Base Antique Parts NrSigned Tiffany Studios 578 Adjustable Bronze Floor Lamp Base Art Deco/nouveau NrAntique Fabulous Consolidated Victorian Gwtw Banquet Oil Lamp, StunningNelson Cigar Pendant Lamp Large George Nelson Dwr Modern LightingSet 5 Signed Handel Vintage Arts & Crafts Era Slag Glass Bronze Lamp Shades NrVintage Ankerlight Marine Brass Ships Lantern Light Lamp Wall Or Hanging Option 1950s Jaegar Lecoultre Rue De La Paix 8-day Lamp Post/street Light Clock BlackSuperb Brass 63 Cm Width Antique French Style Crystal Chandelier Light LampBreyer Woodgrain Texas Long Horn Lamp With Shade Wow FigurineVintage Industrial Pendant / Ceiling Lamp - Metal Cargo LightAladdin Lamp Yellow Moonstone Vertique Corinthian Vintage Very OldVtg Claire Colinet French Bronze Art Deco Nude "swaying Dancer" Statue Lamp YqzArts & Crafts - Powell Vaseline Glass Shade - Suit Benson LampAntique Art Nouveau Bent Slag Glass Lamp Arts & Crafts Miller B&h Handel Era YqzAntique Victorian Haida Complete Brass Hanging Oil Lamp, Satin Floral ShadeAll Original Miller Slag Lamp- Arts Crafts Art Glass Leaded Slag Glass Arts EraHll-472 Victorian Antique Blue Opal. Art Glass Oil Kerosene Lamp "undamaged"Revere Porcelain Gas Station Pump Island Light Lamp 20" Shade Antique ChicagoBeautiful Aladdin Corinthian Amber Oil Lamp W/ Glass Shade Nu-type B BurnerAntique Adlake Chicago 4-way Non-sweating Railroad Train Signal Lamp Lantern NrStunning Old All Original Cranberry Figural Peg / Piano LampRare Spartus Lamp Clock Mid Century Working Time Vintage Retro Atomic Nr 665 UsaVtg. Mid-century 1960's Modernism Space Age Orange 4-port Ceiling Hanging LampPair (2) Antique Italian Gilt Putti Cherub Statue Figural Victorian Double LampUnion Switch & Signal Railroad Subway Single Light Us&s Post Mount LampA Very Nice 18th C Wrought Iron Lantern Or Betty Lamp Holder In The Best PatinaAntique Arts & Crafts Nouveau Handel Lamp Reverse Painted Shade Lake Signed Yqz19thc Antique Victorian Onyx Winged Angel Reticulated Flower Leaf Banquet LampAntique Rene Lalique Boutons D'or Fairy Perfume Lamp Shade, Floral DesignVintage Green Coleman Lamp Shade #324 Mint Condition

Recent News: Lamps

Source: Google News

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Not So Bad After All
Fort Worth Weekly (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog), August 26th

Now I don't feel so bad for breaking my grandmother's antique lamp when I was 12. Not sure why a museum would let people wander around with drinks in their hands; but this video shows a 12-year-old boy walking through a museum, slurping on a soft drink ...Read more

Dorm Room Decorator: A Parsons Freshman Records Her Move-In-Day Experience
The New School News (blog), August 25th

She also planned to put out a multi-colored vintage lamp she purchased from her favorite thrift store in her hometown of Richmond, VA. An aspiring illustrator with an interest in all areas of fine arts, Ellington chose to attend The New School because...Read more

Some collectibles better at weathering economic storm
Mid Columbia Tri City Herald, August 22nd

A. Say “antique lamp” today and most people will think “Tiffany.” The beautiful and striking lighting fixtures made by Tiffany Studios in New York between 1895 and 1933 are at the top end of the market. Some examples are worth hundreds of thousands of ...Read more

This DIY book case hides an awesome secret
Gay Star News, August 20th

Who doesn't dream of a secret room in their home, safely tucked away from prying eyes and annoying co-habitants? Reddit user BaconJacobs has made this dream come true (and shared it with the internet) by converting his home's former coal chute room ...Read more

Pete and Jeanne Fore chosen as 2015 Middlebury Summer Festival Parade marshals
The Elkhart Truth, August 10th

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Summer Festival is pleased to honor Pete and Jeanne Fore as this year's Summer Festival Parade marshals. “We are honored to be the parade marshals this year,” Jeanne said. “The Middlebury Summer Festival is very ...Read more

BEN column dig at Salem City digging unfair; recognize South Jersey's Lenni ...
NJ.com, August 9th

In the late 1990s, the city applied for three grants -- one to fix up storefronts, one to install brick sidewalks with antique lamp posts and trees, and the current one, to install traffic cutouts to slow the sometimes dangerous traffic on Route 49...Read more

A beautiful life together begins with an ugly $10 couch
Los Angeles Times, August 8th

How our journey together with this first piece of furniture has shaped our palette: warm cherry wood and maple, cream drapes and an orange kettle, a vintage lamp painted blue-green for contrast. Before this couch, I'd never purchased furniture. Before...Read more

Correct identification key to pricing vintage lamp
Chicago Tribune, June 15th

Q: Any info on a Pairpoint reverse painted lamp given to me by an elderly aunt? It's signed by a Pairpoint decorator. My aunt told me it was very valuable and would possibly sell for six figures in New York and for half that where I live. A: The reader...Read more