In Antiques on October 14, 2014 at 1:38 am
The question below was recently sent to my email address with two photos
I am trying to research a lamp which I purchased. The 95 year old owner told me it was purchased by his mother in the 1920’s. The shade is unusual and i am having a hard time finding a similar one in books or online. Attached are pictures. The stem of the lamps allows for the lamp to be adjusted up or down. It is signed Miller under the base. I believe it is bronze or perhaps brass. What can you tell me about this lamp? Any information would be appreciated. It is all original. Am trying to decide whether to rewire and keep..or resell.
You have a very nice early 20th century lamp manufactured by the Edward Miller Company which was located in Meriden Connecticut. Your lamp was created using a transfer image technique to create the design in the glass using an acid etching technique. There are not many of these lamps that survived into the 2lst cemtury due to their potential for breaking plus when the Depression arrived the market for better lamps diminished. Details about the metal and materials are hard to discern from a photograph. Miller worked with both brass and bronze.
These lamps currently sell for anywhere between $400 and $1200 depending on the geographic location and type of venue. By all means, rewire the lamp but retain the original brass socket covers and pull chains to maintain historic value and enjoy the lamp if it looks good in your home!
In Antiques, auctions on February 27, 2014 at 2:37 pm
One of a pair of art glass lamps
During the past two months I’ve indirectly met a number of nice people while selling some of my lighting collection online. I am happy to report that the majority of selling interactions have gone well. The major hitch seems to be the cost of shipping,due to the raising costs of energy and fuel. These costs are out of my control, but that doesn’t stop buyers from wanting to blame someone. When you are the person packing up rare fragile items, you do it slowly and carefully with a lot of insulation and padding. My gripe, is the cost of those packing materials such as the peanuts and bubble wrap. Yes, sometimes I can recycle but often I am paying an additional $5 to $15 per crate, to purchase what I need.
Nevertheless, selling online enables one to reach a larger clientele on a 24 hour basis.
I have been a little disappointed that when I put something up that is choice and rare at what I think is a fair price, based on my experience and what I originally paid for the item, and I am offered half of the initial asking price. An example is this lovely pair of art glass probably Steuben lamps. With the shades they are 18 inches in height. Lovely to look at, I’ve never seen another pair (or single for that matter) like them!
Pair of lamps as pictured in “Antique Lamp Buyer’s Guide”
Close up of base
In Antiques on December 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm
Lamp sent for identification
Occasionally readers of my reference books that include Antique Lamp Buyers Guide
track me down with questions about lamps they own. Last week I received some blurry photos and the following comment:” Hello. I came across this shade and was curious about its worth if any. Sorry for the dark photos. The white sections are made out of shell and the frame is copper or bronze metal.”
I’ve never seen a lamp of this style with a shade made of shell. To me it looks like slag glass, which is an opaque glass with striations which was made in a variety of colors, but most frequently in the color of golden brown referred to as caramel.The glass bead ornaments and the metalwork look fancy indeed and look like something that might have hung in a baroque style restaurant or bar. Often the metal was some sort of pot metal that was plated.It’s difficult to tell from the photo. If the panels, bent glass that was molded into shape while still warm, are all in good condition the fixture should be worth a few hundred dollars but without knowing size or much else it would be difficult… For more insight into lamp value reference books can be useful.
Slag glass lamp for sale
with solid brass frame.
The photo above is from the Antique Lamp Buyer’s Guide. This fixture is currently for sale, and for your convenience I am providing the link.
In Antiques, auctions on June 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm
After reading the above post regarding Kerosene Lamps and observing the picture I noticed that the Kerosene lamp to the left is quite similar to one that was left behind when my Great Grandmother passed, but hers has decorative silver, and an emblem that I do not recognize I do not know how to leave a picture but would like you to see it. Maybe you could give me some background and also curious if worth anything.
Sometimes context can be deceiving. A lamp belonging to a senior citizen does not necessarily make the lamp an antique. In style, your lamp is fairly pedestrian. It’s meant to be a practical kerosene lamp, made with clear utilitarian glass. These lamps are still being made today for use on boats and in rural areas where there is no electricity or frequent power outages. A visit to some online auctions shows showed a number of similar lamps selling for between $7 and $12. A company incorporated under the name Lamplight Farms was founded in 1996 in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and parts, including wicks for Farms Lamplight lamps can be purchased from B & P Lamp Supply– founded in the 1950s. My advice would be to enjoy the lamp for its sentimental value. I hope it brings back fond memories of your great grandmother.
In Antiques, auctions on August 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm
This weekend Hurricane Irene came to town. She forced me into my basement to assess the safety of my antique lighting collection, primarily stored in the basement. If anyone out there in internet land wants to buy an antique lighting collection, just give me a holler via email or blog reply , but until that happens, I am the proud caretaker of various shades and lamp parts for late 19th and early 20th lamps. My son has been packing up his apartment to move to a new job, and he was asking my advice on how to pack dishes, which reminded me how little people know about safe packing protocol. So here are a few tips.
1) Strong waterproof containers that can withstand a flooding situation are imperative. If you buy containers that are all the same size they are easy to stack in your garage, basement, or when moving them in a van or truck.
2) You want to wrap your items in something which will provide protection and padding, so if jostled they will not bang against one another. Newspaper is the material of last resort because it turns your fingers black when packing and becomes yellowed and brittle with age. If you have the time, the best packing stuff are the hospital pads that are cotton and blue plastic–designed to protect the bed from “accidents”. You can order them online. They cost approximately $45 for a box of 200. If you can’t find those pads, then I recommend rolls of bubble wrap combined with sheets of white newsprint that are often available places that rent trucks for moving or at a printing plant. To economize, you can also use old towels, sheets, or old T-shirts.
3) Never pack the box or bin to the very top, because if you put weight on top, the items pressing against the lid will snap and break. Always try for approximately one to two inches of insulation at the bottom and the sides. I usually leave six inches at the top.
4) Label everything on the top and on the side where you can easily read the contents of what is inside each tub!
In Antiques, auctions on August 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm
In Antiques, Energy Conservation on July 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Often I am contacted by readers who have consulted one of my lighting books or readers of this blog to identify a lamp, or as the case may be, several lamps. The main concern is, “Do I own something valuable?”
Every time someone comes to me with an old beat-up lamp I can’t help but think of the story Aladdin and the slippery merchant crying out “old lamps for new lamps” in a successful effort to take possession of the old, magical, and thus very valuable lamp with the genie inside.
The lamps I am posting up on my blog today, do not contain any genies. They are in a somewhat shabby condition. The most attractive one (in my humble opinion) I have posted first. Notice if you take away the brass fitting and shade, it could just be a porcelain candlestick that has been converted into a lamp, or in this case probably the lamp design was inspired by a candlestick. In my best estimation, based totally on the photograph, this looks to be a commercially made lamp from the mid 20th century with a great deal of wear. But it could look more attractive if the metal (brass or brass plate) was polished up. It could also be refurbished to hold a fabric shade for a more traditional look. As to value, probably” as is”, it in under $65.
enameled oriental style base
The lighting on the photo is dark so it is hard to see, but it looks as if this is a domestic lamp influenced by oriental design and/or imported from Japan post world war II. But once again the value is relatively low– under $85.
French County anyone?
In the right setting, this could be a desirable lamp from a decorator point of view. The age is mid 20th century but the inspiration is 18th century. There appears to be some wear on the decoration, so the value as is will most likely be under $100.
Side table or reading lamp?
I’ve saved the ugliest lamp for last because this floor lamp looks like something one might encounter in a seedy motel room decorated in the 1960s. Yes, it is inspired by 19th century floor lamps to a slight degree but then someone came up with the not too brilliant idea of attaching a ledge around the middle of the lamp to serve as a table…. While this lamp might be something you’d find on the roadside put out for bulk trash… someone might pay $25 for this lamp at a used furniture store, particularly if the store was located in Florida or California where the definition of antiques stretches into the 20th century.
Sorry LTR (reader who emailed the photos) but your lamps are not particularly valuable from an antiques perspective, although they still have some functional value depending on where and how they are used!
In Antiques on November 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm
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.
In Antiques on October 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm
Hi Nadja, I was looking at some of my past issues of Victorian Homes for an article of a metal lamp you wrote for the June 2003 issue. You referred to it as a copper base two handled banquet lamp. I have inherited a lamp identical to the one pictured in this article with the exception of the lamp shade. The one in the article has a white etched globe and my lamp has a pale pink globe with roses painted on it and a clear chimney. I have inspected my lamp but cannot find a manufacturer’s name anywhere. Should there be one? I am certain another article was written many years ago by you or another contributor showing a picture of the metal lamp having an identical globe as mine but have been unable to locate that issue.
I have a question regarding the metal. Around some of the applied bows and swags green is growing. I do not want to remove the patina so the lamp looks new and tried to clean it off with water on a cloth, however this did not work. Do you have any suggestions? Does this harm the metal and will it continue to spread over the metal?
I always enjoy you articles in Victorian Homes to which I have subscribed for at least 30 years. Thanks for reading my email.
The majority of antique kerosene lamps made of metal are primarily brass, bronze, pewter, or pot metal. In all cases, a little bit of cleaning with a toothbrush and a small dab of appropriate cleaning polish. (The cleaner I used to use is no longer on the market, the last time I checked but there are probably some new products). Fortunately, near where I live there is a “brass polisher” who will do light buffing work when requested, which leaves the patina in tact.
Let me know if this works for you.
In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 7:07 pm
I was browsing in Northern Lights in Manchester, VT and — as a lover of antique lamps — I was fascinated by your book,”Antique Lamp Buyer’s Guide, 2nd Edition.” Flipping through the pages, I found myself looking for the style of this lamp I’ve had in my family for as far back as I can remember (it came from my grandmother originally, but I’ve no idea how it came into her life). Looking at your photos, I wondered if it might not be a reservoir and burner Astral or Sinumbral lamp (page 15 of this book).
I’ve been searching on and off for years to find a replacement for the cracked upper half of the globe on this lamp — it was shattered when I was a child and my dad swung his coat over it and down it crashed (I thought my mom was going to leave him then and there!), but I’ve had no luck. At this point, I would just welcome some kind of top that would fit — it wouldn’t have to be a perfect match! This lamp is alabaster and the cracked top darkens the light it can give off and it’s just such a shame.
I’ve attached 3 photos I took of it and I’d be so grateful if you took a moment to peruse them. If you have any thoughts or any contacts of yours you would share with me that would be helpful in my search to replace the shattered upper half of the globe, I would be most appreciative.
At any rate, thank you for your time. All the best to you…
I’m sad to say that I can’t give you any leads on where to find another globe for your lovely antique lamp. Maybe another reader perusing this blog will have some information for you, but in the meantime I will say that looking at the base of your lamp– I do not see where there is an oil reservoir (unless it is hidden within the bottom half of the globe) and thus I think it is an early electric light made between 1915 and 1930. (Does that jive with the timeline of ownership in your family?)
Wishing you continued enjoyment of your inherited treasure.