Dating oil lamps

It has been estimated that up to 3,000 different designs were made but many of these had a limited production run.

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This allowed great flexibility in the choice of materials, form and design and resulted in a widely diverse range being produced.

From the traditional English and European styles to multi-sectioned glass banquet lamps and the more rustic wrought iron range, all tastes were catered for.

They came in a wide variety of “mix and match” bases, stems and fonts.

As a result, a huge number of combinations were made.

Popular during the 1860s – 1880s, figural stem oil lamps were produced in a range of sizes up to banquet lamp size.

Most commonly, they depict classical and historical figures but animals and more whimsical and occasionally risque forms are also found.

The movie was set during the Civil War but production of these lamps did not start until at least a decade later.

However, the term is so widely used these days that it has become an accepted description.

Some bases are slate or soapstone but commonly they are cast iron and come in a variety of mouldings.

Most fonts are clear glass, though coloured glass is also seen. The greatest diversity of materials and form is exhibited in the stems.

Other types of glass such as opalescent, opaque and carnival were also used to make oil lamps but again, in far fewer numbers than the clear glass.


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