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    

Bradley Hubbard Leaded Arts Crafts Slag Glass Antique Handel Era Lamp Nr1870's Scarce P&a Harvard Brass Student Oil Lamp With 2 ShadesAntique Art Deco Chrome Bakelite Diana Lady Lamp, Green Glass ShadeAntique Penny Farthing Ordinary High Wheel,tricycle,safety Bicycle Lamp Lantern.Fase Madrid Boomerang 64 Chrome Vintage Desk Light Lamp Mid Century Jacobsen 60sAntique Unusual Nickel Plated Student Lamp - Excellent Condition1868 Patent 00 Dietz Tubular Lantern Patented Irwin Lamp Complete Original Gubi Grasshopper Floor Lamp Black Lighting Modern Dwr Design Within ReachFase Madrid 520 C Chrome Vintage Desk Light Lamp Mid Century Bauhaus JacobsenAntique Islamic Pierced Brass Silver Inlay Mosque Lamp Cairo Ware Syrian OttomanGrasshopper Table Lamp Black Dwr Design Within Reach Modern LightingEarly Dietz Crystal Lantern Vintage Barn Lamp Kerosene LightingAntique Railroad Signal Light Model Vintage Train Engineer School Electric LampBradley Hubbard Arts Crafts Mission Reverse Painted Antique Handel Era Lamp NrLarge Heavy Pullman Train 'double Burner' Lamp Rr Railroad Light Lantern CabooseAntique Unusual Small 1860's/70's Tin Kerosene Lantern Skaters Lamp?Handcrafted - Luxury Tiffany Lamp - Amber Table Lamp- Large Birds--- Cast BrassStunning Vintage Brass & Crystal Electric Candelabra LampPair Antique 19thc Eapg Hand Blown Flint Glass Whale Oil Lamps W/ Double BurnersKazuo Motozawa Saturno Staff Vintage Table Desk Light Lamp Mid Century ModernAladdin White Moonstone Vertique B-93 Kerosene / Oil Lamp - No ReserveRare Art Deco Three Nude Ladies Modernistic Metal Lamp W Shade - Frankart EraVintage Mole Richardson Theatre Studio Light Lamp Not Strand 23 Or 123Antique Islamic Silver Inlay Mosque Lamp Cairo Ware Syrian Ottoman Pair DatedAntique Victorian Era Train Car Style Brass Adjustable Railroad Wall Sconce LampTiffany Studios Zodiac Bronze Desk Lamp No ReserveAntique Em & Co Edward Miller Arts & Crafts Caramel Slag Glass Lamp #1159 Nr YqzPrimus / Radius No 21 Lamp And Stove Combo Kerosene Lantern Parafin ManualsGreat Antique Bradley & Hubbard Slag Glass Lamp Base W/ Hubbell Sockets N/rAntique Pair Of Circa 1850 Doughnut Shaped Sinumbra Lamps Fonts? Hanging?Vintage Mid Century Danish Modern Wood Hanging Swag Light Lamp ~nice!Antique Brass Solar Astral Lamp Never Electrified With Screw In Chimney82" Tall Antique Victorian Art Nouveau Converted Oil/piano Floor Lamp Nr YqzRare Type Hcp Patterson Lamps Miners Mining Safety Lamp LanternLuxury Tiffany Lamp -amber Table And Bedside Lamp-birdsWilly Rizzo Table Lamp Bd Lumica Brass Brutalism Hollywood Regency Modern Light Antique Finger Oil Lamp Unusual Fish Bowl Medallion Shape & Base Eapg As IsBarsony Australian Pottery Black Lady Lamp Unique Backlit Screen On Wood BaseRare Vintage Aladdin Reverse Painted #165 Scenic Electric Table Lamp No Reserve!Vintage Industrial Wall Light-military Brass Lamp With Cage & Glass Dome E27 40wBradley Hubbard Arts Crafts Leaded Slag Glass Antique Handel Era Lamp NrFine!! Ca.1925 Art Deco Chandelier Glass Shades Ceiling Light Fixture LampVintage Aladdin Ivory Oil Lamp - Model B 11" Tall W/o Flute Pat PendingCirca 1820 Antique Small Hand Blown Whale Oil LampAntique Blue Victorian Glass Sliding Ceiling Light Fixture Lamp Chandelier1888 Antique Bradley And Hubbard Banquet Brass Oil Lamp FontAntique Frankart Art Deco Figural Kneeling Lady Gilded Spelter Statue Lamp Yqz~*~estate Find~*~ Antique Art Deco Lady Lamp **nr**Art Deco Chrome Table LampAntique French Art Deco Chrome Pendant Light Lamp Green Satin Glass Saturn ShadeAntique ' Bradley & Hubbard ' Banquet Oil LampFase Madrid Tharsis Champagne Vintage Desk Light Lamp Mid Century Modern 60s 70s19thc Antique Art Nouveau Era Rococo Style Glass Victorian Gwtw Old Banquet LampWonderful Antique Miniature Porcelain Ernst Bohne & Sohne Owl Oil Lamp. 19thcVintage 19th C Hobbs Cranberry Opalescent Snowflake Oil Lamp W/clear BaseOld Aladdin Model B Jadite Jade Green Moonstone Kerosene Oil Mantel Lamp As IsAntique Art Deco Nude Lady Metal Onyx Base Standing Ashtray Lamp Frankart ?Superb Victorian Cranberry Art Nouveau Acid Etched Oil Lamp Shade Duplex Fit 4".Beautiful Barsony Australian Pottery Black Lady Lamp Head & Shoulder BustVintage Mole Richardson Theatre Studio Light Lamp Not Strand 23 Or 123

Recent News: Lamps

Source: Google News

Brighten drab lamps with updated looks
Bend Bulletin, February 9th

Try one really large vintage lamp, a statement lamp like a colorful ceramic or a tall pair on a buffet — something eye-catching and fun — but then stop there and have the others in the space fit in quietly.” First, evaluate your home's lamps and...Read more

Expert Tips for Styling Those Hard Spaces in Your Home
StyleBlueprint (blog), January 19th

This mid?century modern chair was fully restored and reupholstered and has been placed by a new custom buffet with a more traditional vintage lamp. Framed pages from an old artist's sketchbook and a pillow made from an antique kilim rug finish the look...Read more

Keep Auburn Lovely to host citizen forum Monday
Opelika Auburn News, January 16th

As the city of Auburn grows, citizens are seeking input on how to best balance growth with retaining small town charm from other cities who have faced similar struggles. The grassroots citizen organization Keep Auburn Lovely will host a Citizen Forum...Read more

New on 'Sesame Street' this season: Just about everything
Chicago Sun-Times, January 13th

The place is dreamy, with an antique lamp, natural lighting and handmade cabinetry. In previous seasons, said David Gallo, the show's production designer, “it was just a nest — all of his stuff was in little boxes, and there was some furniture...Read more

Read the first two chapters from The Love That Split the World — exclusive
Entertainment Weekly, November 18th

The YA world is buzzing about The Love That Split the World, a high school love story from debut author Emily Henry. It's got all the ingredients of a riveting read, like time travel and a mythology twist. The book follows Natalie Clearly, eager to...Read more

The Vintage Lamp
Huffington Post, April 27th

Most folks in town described Anita Perkins with peculiar detail. A few could talk about Anita for up to three hours without repeating a story, many could hold an audience while three consecutive beers were consumed at Taylor's Saloon, but just about...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

Antique Lamp Stolen from Arlington
Santa Barbara Independent, January 24th

Antique lamps in the Arlington Theatre's entryway. Note the missing fifth fixture on the far right. Antique Lamp Stolen from Arlington. Installed with Four Matching Fixtures When Theater Opened in 1931. Tuesday, January 24, 2012. By Tyler Hayden (Contact)...Read more