Finding Authentic Vintage and Antique Oil Lamps
If you would like to add an antique ambiance to your home, one easy way to do this is by adding one or more vintage oil lamps to your home decor. Besides the fact that vintage oil lamps are antiques, they also lend a special glow to a room that both is soothing, and is a reminder of the days before electricity.
Oil lamps were standard lighting elements before electricity was installed everywhere, and still are used in remote spots where electricity is spotty or non-existent. Oil lamps shed light by a flickering flame, therefore the light moves and adds both scent, and atmosphere to a room.
Although there are lamp oils available for lighting, you can also add scented oils to an oil lamp for scenting your home. With a scented oil, your vintage or antique oil lamp becomes an even more soothing, and comfortable addition to your living room decor.
Vintage Antique 1800’s Oil Lamps
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Antique Oil Lamps
Most oil lamps for inside the home are rather small, both to keep the heat down from the lamp, and to make it easy to carry from room to room. Vintage and antique lamps were made of a metal and glass base, and lamp shades are almost always glass for ease of cleaning, to encase the oil, and to be more safe.
Vintage oil lamps do get hot from the heat of the burning oil, so it is important to place them on a flat surface, and handle them with care so as not to burn your hands.
To control the amount of light emitted, you can trim the size of the wick.
Vintage Miniature Oil Lamps
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Vintage Lamp Shades
Vintage lamps were made in whatever glass style was popular during the time period of manufacture, but many had colored or milk glass shades.
As you can see in the picture of the lamp above, the top of the antique amber glass lamp shade is open to emit the smoke from the flame. The glass shade is removable to clean, and the oil was kept in the metal chamber beneath the glass. The wick on this lamp can be adjusted with the knob on the right. By trimming the wick, the flame and light can be controlled.
The base on this particular lamp is made of brass which is a durable, and heavy metal, yet not very expensive, good for a household item.
Vintage Green Glass Oil Lamps
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Vintage Dragon Oil Lamps
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Vintage Depression Oil Lamps
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Vintage Oil Lamps are Beautiful Examples of Vintage Glassware
There are so many beautiful examples of vintage and antique glassware in serving dishes, drinking glasses, wine glasses, and decanters, but there are just as many in the antique and vintage oil lamps. Many of the glass lamp shades for the vintage oil lamps are stunning samples of vintage and antique glass work.
Shades were made with every type of glass imagineable, including some of the gorgeous colors of Depression era glass, and molded glass of the Victorian period. Some of the vintage oil lamp shades are painted or engraved right on the glass.
Amber glass, green glass, cobalt glass, milk glass, and even ruby red glass were all made into lamp shades for vintage oil lamps.
Using Vintage and Antique Oil Lamps Today
Although there is no reason to use a vintage oil lamp for a primary light source today, there is certainly no reason that it can’t be a secondary emergency light source, or mood lighting for a room. You can add to a room’s decor simply by having the unlit lamp in the room, or you can collect vintage oil lamps, and show them off on a shelf or in a glass case.
Vintage and antique lamps are highly collectible, and you can research their value in collector’s handbooks like Oil Lamps II by Catherine Thuro. You can collect antique oil lamps by era, by style, or just because you happen to like that particular one.
Vintage oil lamps are excellent conversation pieces, and are great to show off at outdoor parties and picnics on your patio at night. You can have an entire party around the history of your lamps. Another use is to have a themed period party or Halloween party based around the history or enhanced history of your vintage and antique oil lamps.
Whatever use you put them to, you will be able to enjoy both the look and the history of your vintage oil lamp.