I saw your article on antique kerosene lamps while trying to Google some information about a lamp that was passed down to me from my great aunt. I was wondering if you would be able to give me any information about my lamp. Any info you may have would be greatly appreciated, my head is spinning from trying to sort out all the different directions Google is sending me. To be quite honest I am not even sure if it is an antique or just a replica she had for years.
Thank you so much for your time,
Your great aunt’s lamp was originally for kerosene, but unfortunately has lost many of its original components, thus seriously depreciating its collector’s value. It was useful that you shot close-up photos of the raised signature in the casting. I think perhaps the photos is flipped so it is hard to make out the initials, but I’m guessing on the Pittsburgh Lamp, Brass, and Glass Company. The crackle glass shade, definitely appears to my eye to be a reproduction– most likely Italian and probably purchased in the the 1960s. The entire burner has been removed and replaced with a new unit commonly used in the mid 20th century to convert oil lamps to electric lamps. It looks as if the original font for storing the oil which would have sat inside the round bulbous portion and was connected to the burner may have been tossed as well. Nowadays smart collectors who wish to use their kerosene lamps with electricity save the burner and keep the font in tact. Rather than drilling and threading the wiring through the lamp, they run the wire from the replacement socket so as not to interfere with the integrity of the original construction.
If you are using the lamp, feel confortable in replacing the shade with one that has a closer appearance to what might have been used during the era– acid etched, stenciled, or painted decoration. A different type of socket and shade holder can enable you to use a clear chimney inside the shade, but the monetary investment may not be worthwhile. In its present condition, I would estimate your lamp’s value at approximately $60-$75.
If you have fond memories of your aunt, with a little love and care to further restoration, it could be a keeper.