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.
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Recent News: Lamps
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Steve Dahl Won't Shut UpChicagomag.com, March 2nd
Dahl settles into an overstuffed couch in his living room, under framed portraits of family dogs from years past and the warm glow of an antique lamp, a Diet Coke in his hand. At intervals during our chat, he excuses himself to pee. “This damn...Read more
What's it worth: American rocker, German porcelain lampRichmond.com, February 28th
QUESTION: We inherited a rocking chair that once belonged to my grandmother, and recently had it redone. We think it was made in the 1930s or 1940s. We are curious about its history. — J.S.. ANSWER: I like to leave antique furniture alone, but you...Read more
Tim McGraw Pays Touching Tribute to Glen Campbell at 2015 OscarsTaste of Country, February 22nd
Antique lamp posts surrounded him, giving off a glow of rich gold. The song appears in the documentary film Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, which chronicled the music icon's final tour as he struggled withe the progression of his Alzheimer's. The emotional...Read more
Interior Designer Ariel Ashe Invites Us in to Her HomeNew York Observer, February 19th
A teak root table with an antique lamp. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York. A teak root table with an antique lamp (Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer). You travel often. Is that essential as an interior designer? Yes. You can only get so much...Read more
First Look: Napoleon and Josephine Is the Cutest, Emptiest Restaurant on MelroseLA Weekly, February 19th
The dining room is just plain adorable, if you go in for the European old-china/lace-doily/vintage-lamp look. It really does feel like the overstuffed home of a French granny, and the dark red booths and mismatched fresh flowers on every table make it...Read more
12 Things You Didn't Know About Disneyland's Main Street USAHuffington Post, February 11th
A lit antique lamp in the window once informed staff when Walt was in residence. Today, the lamp remains lit as a tribute. 10. The Grand Canyon Diorama, which is featured along the scenic route of the Disneyland Railroad, is the longest diorama in the...Read more
ROCKNE NEWS: Visit with author a trip through Rockne historyAustin American-Statesman, February 6th
auction, with a live auction to take place at 1 p.m. Among the auction items this year will be a Western painting done by local artist Joe Boer, a mesquite bowl handmade by local craftsman Gene Hahn and an antique lamp that used to be in the Goertz...Read more
La. Traveler - antique lamp collectorKPLC-TV, November 5th
LACASSINE, LA (KPLC) - Old oil and kerosene lanterns have always been found at flea markets and antique shows across the nation. Restoring them is becoming more popular. David Clayton fell in love with old kerosene lanterns in the summer. That's when ...Read more