Archive for the ‘lamp’ Category

Glass beehive oil lamp with metal witch’s hat base, c.1850

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

This beehive form glass oil lamp measures 6.25 inches high and was most likely made in the USA in the middle 1800s. It maintains its original brass oil burner fitting but lost its original glass base many years ago. As oil lamps were in daily use, it’s not unusual that many were broken and ultimately repaired in inventive ways. I have dozens of glass oil lamps in my collection with variations on metal and wood replacement bases.

When the lamp base became detached well over 100 years ago, a skilled tinsmith made this metal replacement base which resembles a witch’s hat. Please enter “oil lamp” in my search window to see many more examples of oil lamp repairs.

This lamp with similar form shows what the simple glass base on my lamp may have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Collect Lamps

Glass beehive whale oil lamp with DIY wood base, c.1850

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

This mold-blown glass whale oil lamp with beehive design stands 6 inches high. It was made in North America, c.1850. As oil lamps were used extensively throughout the house, it was not unusual for them to break. If the owner was crafty, they could add fabric and batting to the top portion of the broken base, transforming it into a pin cushion. The upper portion could be fitted with a metal or wood replacement base, which is what we have here.

Judging by the simplicity of the work, this 3.5 inches square rustic wood replacement base was most likely a DIY repair. Wooden make-do repairs done at home range from the simple (Flint glass candlestick, c.1870) to over-the-top flights of fancy (Oil lamp with pyramid base, c.1920). I am hoping that people will be inspired by my collection of inventive repairs and take a stab at repairing their own wounded possessions.

This intact example shows what the original base on my lamp would have looked like before it took a tumble.

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Brass kerosene oil lamp, c.1900

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

This small kerosene oil lamp has a brass reservoir joined to a square metal base using a hand carved wood conical stem. I found it in a small New England antiques shop a few years ago and although it is unmarked, I believe it to be American. It stands 8.75 inches tall and the base measures nearly 4 inches square.

Lamps such as this were commonly used worldwide, from the mid 1800s through the mid 1900s. They were sturdy and made to last so I am puzzled by what caused this one to become unhinged. The replacement stem appears to be a home made job, and although practical, it is less than elegant.

This brass oil lamp with similar form has all of its parts and shows what the original base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Glass oil lamp with wood base, c.1880

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

This American pressed glass oil lamp, dating from the late 1800s, can be seen in the exhibit Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, New York, on view through October 1. It measures 10 inches high.

It is not uncommon to find glass oil lamps with a make-do repairs. Starting in the late 1700s, most homes had at least one glass oil lamp and due to their daily use and frequent handling, many became damaged. On this example, a brass ferrule joins the surviving glass bowl to a carved wood replacement base, which appears to be an at home repair. The burner is a modern replacement and allows the lamp to function as it originally did over 130 years ago.

This lamp with similar form suggest what the original base on my lamp might have looked like before it took a tumble.


Photo courtesy of Oil Lamp Antiques

Pewter whale oil lamp, c.1830

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

This early American pewter whale oil lamp with squared off acorn shaped font stands a tad more than 6″  tall. Whale oil was the preferred source of lighting in the early 1800s, and was also used for making soap, textiles, jute, varnish, explosives and paint. It fell out of favor by late 1800s as a result of the development of kerosene oil in 1846.

The metal replacement base, made by a tinker in the 19th century, has oxidized to almost the same tone as the pewter, thereby making the repair hard to detect. As a result of the missing double burner atop, this lamp instantly transforms into a unique and quirky vase.

Barrels of Whale Oil – New Bedford, Ma., 1859


This example still has its original pewter base and double burner.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Raleigh Antiques

Swallowed up whale oil lamp, c.1860

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

This whale oil lamp is pulling a Jonah in reverse, as it appears that the “whale” has been swallowed up by its wood replacement base. Possibly made by the New England Glass Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the mid-1800s, this tri-mold pressed glass lamp with thumbprint pattern stands 7-1/4″ tall.

Whale oil was the preferred source of lighting in the early 1800s, and was also used for making soap, textiles, jute, varnish, explosives and paint. It fell out of favor by the third quarter of the 1800s as a result of the development of kerosene oil in 1846, a cheaper and less odorous alternative.

The lathe-turned wood base envelopes more than half of the lamp, which results in a whimsical, yet sturdy, home repair.















































This oil lamp with similar form shows what the original glass base on my lamp most likely looked like before it took a tumble.



















Photo courtesy of eBay

Glass kerosene oil lamp, c.1860

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) kerosene oil lamp in what appears to be the Hamilton (aka Cape Cod) pattern, made in America by the Cape Cod Glass Company circa 1860. Measures 8-3/4″ tall. Round 3 tier base of polished wood replaces the original glass base, broken many years ago and replaced in first quarter of the 20th century.

Whale oil lamp vase, c.1830

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

This simple, hand blown glass whale oil lamp was made in America in the early 19th century. Though no longer functional as a lamp, it now makes for an interesting vase. A true make-do, it started out life as one thing and as the result of an accident, was reborn as something entirely different.

Whale oil was the preferred source of lighting in the early 1800’s, and was also used for making soap, textiles, jute, varnish, explosives and paint. It fell out of favor in the mid-late 1800’s as a result of the development of kerosene oil in 1846.

Illustration courtesy of Curious Expeditions

Lamp/vase measures 6-1/4″ tall and the base is 3″ square. The original brass collar and burner went missing long ago.

It is not unusual to find oil lamps with replaced bases, as they were one of the most used household items in the 19th century. This unusually elaborate replacement base is made of wood and covered in gessoed relief flowers, with a floret at each corner.

This complete lamp shows what the base on my lamp might have looked like.


Photo courtesy of Comollo Antiques

Oil lamp with pyramid base, c.1920

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The person who repaired this 7″ tall EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) oil lamp in the “Sawtooth” pattern threw caution to the wind and developed their own whimsical pyramid base, which bares no resemblance at all to the original glass base

This joint is where the lamp attaches to the painted base, showing “alligator” finish red line detailing

The overscaled base measures 7″ square

The remains of the heavily sawtoothed stem are visible from the underside of the base

This identical lamp, fully intact, reveals how much is actually missing from my lamp

Photo courtesy of iOffer

“Early Moon & Star” oil lamp, c.1850

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) whale oil lamp in the “Early Moon & Star” pattern, aka “Old Moon & Star” and “Star & Dot” with brass ferrule collar, measures 8″ high

After the original glass base snapped off, a tinsmith created a simple conical form replacement base

The lamp below has a similarly shaped oil font and stands on a metal connector stem and marble base

Photo courtesy of Antique Investments