Antique Hanging Oil Lamps

Have you ever imagined what precious heirlooms can be found inside circa 1800s houses? Antique lamp collectors wonít pass up any chance to take a hold of lamps made from this period. They are so valuable that they command the stiffest prices in the market today.

Generally, oil lamps are any vessels that can hold oil. An absorbent wick sits in the oil and can be lit to produce light or heat to warm up rooms of houses in bygone eras. Candles, pitch oil lamps and animal fat lamps were used until 1800s. Antique hanging oil lamps were fabricated from metal, glass, porcelain and ceramics. The lampís chimney or shades are the focal point of collectors. These chimneys were painstakingly hand blown and free-formed. Artisans of that era made limited-production chimneys adorned with peddle tops and frothed or etched designs. The metal base and burner were made by manufacturers but the glasses used were bought elsewhere. The burner was a simple piece of brass molded into some form to hold a wick and the chimney or shade, protecting the flame from the air and aided in combustion by creating a draft.

A wide variety of materials were also used to make the shades for antique hanging oil lamps. Milk glass, which was utilitarian and inexpensive, made up the plain opal shades seen in other antique lamps. Case glass is really two different layers of glass wherein the inside is white (to reflect more light) and the outside is colored, usually green. Satin glass, amberina, cranberry and mother of pearl were examples of different art glass shades produced. Paper shades were smooth and silkscreened or lithographed, sometimes pleated or made out of cloth. With antique hanging oil lamps, prisms were added to match the shade. Prisms were either crystal clear or colored to match any shades of the oil lamps. Specific types of hanging oil are used for different types of lamps.

Antique hanging oil lamps are very functional and decorative. The light emanating from it is like the fire from a fireplace or a campfire. It is warm and inviting. You have to make sure that what you are hanging it from should be in a secure place and shielded from the wind. Buy one that is built for your desired purpose and only at specialty stores. You must make sure that it comes with a number of replacement wicks in case the first wick burns out. One thatís outfitted with a metal handle is most useful for carrying purposes. If your purpose is decorative, buy the right oil. Paraffin oil produces a bright and cleaner light but it is quite expensive. Oil bought from filling stations is cheaper but might be contaminated with water or other impurities which results in an obnoxious smell.

Antique hanging oil lamps are preferred by many romantics, decorators, historians and collectors. Thereís no question at all of the romanticism its flickering lights evoke and the mysterious warmth these lamps produce, making a unique statement.