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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Brighten drab lamps with updated looksBend 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
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LEADING United States ANTIQUE LAMP MANUFACTURERS Antique lights take a wide variety of forms, similar to floor lights, table lights, wall sconces, and in addition various types of hanging lamp similar to windows and in addition metal chandeliers...Read more
Expert Tips for Styling Those Hard Spaces in Your HomeStyleBlueprint (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 MondayOpelika 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 everythingUSA TODAY, January 7th
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
The Vintage LampHuffington 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 lampChicago 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 ArlingtonSanta 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