Oil lamps have existed in one form or another since ancient times. Most popular between the 1700s and the 1950s (when electricity became cheaper and easy to install), oil lamps produced a bright and reliable source of light and were far safer than an exposed flame candle. They could also be beautifully designed and incorporate beautiful bases and stunning glass shades. In this article, we’ll be exploring the different kinds of oil lamps as well as giving you the rundown of some of the best and most exciting examples of oil lamps available for sale online.
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How Can you Tell if an Oil Lamp is Antique?
Because of their aesthetic design, collectability, and use in interior design, reproduction oil lamps are still in production today; just take a look on sites such as Amazon. Many of these reproduction pieces can be very convincing, so it’s important to know how to tell if the piece you considering purchasing is legitimate. Here are three ways you can ensure you’re buying a genuine lamp:
- Use a Blacklight
If you’re viewing the lamp in person you can use a blacklight in a dark room to confirm whether your oil lamp is the real deal. Newer oil lamps will be secured using glue, and the glue used will glow under the blacklight. Antique oil lamps use fused glass instead, so genuine antique pieces won’t glow when exposed to blacklight.
- Check the Hardware
The hardware that is used in an oil lamp can help reveal the age of the item. If bolts are fully threaded, or the pieces used seem machine-made, then it is likely your lamp is either a more recent vintage item, or a new reproduction.
- Look out for Plaster
While new lamps will use a liberal amount of glue to fill in gaps between the lamp body and the hardware, traditional oil lamp makers use plaster instead. So, finding plaster in the joints or around the hardware of the lamp is a really good sign.
Our Favourite Antique Oil Lamps
Below you’ll find our list of Antique Oil Lamps that we’ve found for sale online. We’ve organized our list into convenient sections to help you find what you’re looking for.
** for each section add a roman numeral i.e XI Oil Lamps’ and number every entry on the list (don’t restart the count when the section changes)**
I) Antique Oil Lamps
1. A Stunning All Original Victorian Oil Lamp
A tall pale cranberry antique deluxe oil lamp dated to 1837-1901 containing all original parts.
2. Antique Students Reflector Oil Lamp
An antique student’s reflector oil lamp with a swirled glass reservoir measuring at 47cm in height, overall in very good condition with some staining on the reservoir.
3. Antique Oil Lamp Cobalt Glass Font Milk Glass Mushroom Shade Duplex Burner
Material: Brass, Glass, Ceramic
This antique oil lamp has a cobalt blue font with a screw-fit base fitted with a Jean Stadelmann duplex burner. The flat bulge chimney is in good condition with an overall good quality lamp gallery supporting a mushroom-shaped milk glass shade.
4. Antique Oil Lamp Bohemian Cobalt Blue Cut To Clear Glass Font Corinthian Column
Material: Brass, Glass
This elegant antique oil lamp stands at 71cm tall with a base weighted brass corinthian column. The font has a stunning Bohemian white and vibrant blue cut glass. The burner is a single wick with a brass burner. The chimney is a brand round bulge chimney in excellent condition.
5. Antique Dutch oil lamp with brass burner and original wind glass
Material: Brass, Glass
This antique Dutch oil lamp possesses a brass burner and original wind glass lamp. The weight is approx. 1.3 kilograms standing at a 50×12.5 height.
6. Scotty Dog Oil Lamp circa 1940s Scottie Dog Oil Lamp, Banner lamp burner, Westie oil lamp, Terrier Oil Lamp
Material: Glass, Metal
An antique oil lamp featuring a Scottie dog playing. The base is red with white glass silhouettes of black Scotties. The screw-in lamp burner is by Banner and dated to the 1940s.
7. Vintage Lamplight Farms Kerosene Lamp with Painted Daisies.
Material: Glass, Brass
A vintage lamp farms kerosene lamp with painted daisies. The condition is overall very good with dark areas on the glass chimney. Some scratches, dings, and paint loss throughout.
8. Miniature oil lamp vintage stereo with partial frosted chimney and wick
This vintage oil lamp stereo with partial frosted chimney and wick. This lamp is 9” tall with a chimney at 5 ¾ “ without and 4” with the base being 4” x 1 3/4 “. The overall condition is decent with some markings here and there.
9. Miniature oil lamp vintage stereo with partial frosted chimney and wick
A vintage miniature oil lamp stereo with a partial frosted chimney and wick. This is s very used with some marking here and there but still in working condition.
II) Small Antique Oil Lamp
1. Antique ** AMBER ** Glass Hand Held Oil Lamp
The condition of this oil lamp is very good with pictures to represent the quality of the lamp. The weight of the lamp is 400grams with a 4” in height and a 4.75” diameter (excluding the handle).
2. Antique Glass Miniature Oil Lamp
An Antique Glass Miniature Oil Lamp that is stunning, small, and free of any chips/cracks. This item is clean and almost resembles an old-school glass bottle.
3. Vintage Antique Mini Miniature Frosted Glass Oil Lamp Light w/ Cast Iron Base
Material: Cast Iron
This antique lamp is 9 1/2 “ tall, 4” to a glass shoulder. It features a blue/green frosted glass font, no globe or shade, the chimney is included. Used condition with normal wear, dirty in places with some scuffs but no chips.
4. Vintage pink satin mini oil lamp
A vintage mini oil lamp with pink body glass ribbon detailed in 3 feet. The matching shade has a petaled upper rim with no chips or cracks. Very good overall condition.
5. Vintage Small Saloon Oil Lamp
A small vintage saloon lamp standing at 8.5” with scuffs in paint and a single small chip on the top. Never been used, the wick is new and was most likely used as decor rather than a practical lamp.
6. Vintage Unique Horse And Carriage Oil Lamp
This lamp stands at 8” tall to the top of the chimney itself. The burner does have some rusting due to its age. However overall a very beautiful lamp featuring a horse pulling a carriage.
7. Vintage Lefton Christmas Holly Pattern Miniature Oil Lamp with Handle-1970s Finger Lamp-Marked 1973/74
A vintage Lefton china miniature oil lamp with a handle featuring a Christmas holly decor that dates back to the 1970s. It measures 3 ¼”, has a 2” handle with “1973-74” marked on the bottom.
8. Small red stove oil lamp
A small oil lamp featuring a red and gold finish, the base is designed like an old wood stove with a yellow lantern being painted to like flames. There is no wick with this in this lamp.
9. Vintage small oil lamp / milk glass / pink glass / brass / desk lamp / lantern
This oil lamp is stunning with a brass base, milk glass middle, and pink glass chimney top. The lamp has a knob to raise and lower the wick and is in good working condition; the top of the glass has a pink hue that deepens in color towards the base.
10. Antique Small 8″ Glass Oil Lamp. Vintage Victorian Shelf Decor.
Antique small Glass Oil Lamp that has gold painted on the accent of the glass which unfortunately has become very faded. Great lamp for a nice display
11. Mini kerosene lantern blue, vintage small oil lamp, vintage mini hurricane lamp, glass kerosene lamp, small oil lamp, small hurricane lamp
This mini lamp is blue, vintage, and is perfect for a nice display piece. It stands approx 4 ½” tall painted blue with tinted painted trim. There is a wick and can be adjusted easily. The glass does need removing to be cleaned.
12. Vintage Novelty Glass Oil Lamp I Choose From Clear Mini Telephone Lamp, Green Ruffled Glass Mini Lamp, Blue Ruffled Glass Mini Lamp
This lamp is a clear glass lamp shaped into a telephone with a brass base and a tall clean chimney. The lamp has a working wick but does need some cleaning to achieve a better finish. Overall a very good lamp.
III) Vintage Oil Lamps with Lady
1. OLD VINTAGE HAND MADE BRASS OIL LAMP WITH LADY STATUE VERY FINE COLLECTIBLE
This brass lamp is very deluxe but simply made. The lamp features a standing woman holding the lamp in which a flame sits.
2. Duplex Oil Lamp, Art Nouveau Lamp, Kerosene Lamp Tall
Vintage lamp dating back to the 1900s made from glass and metal standing at 90cm height. This lamp features a brass woman holding up the chimney which contains some stains but is perfect for display and practical use.
3. Vintage oil lamp with a statue of a goddess in the center. It is a collector’s item of the eccentric culture of the 1980s
This vintage oil lamp comes with a statue featuring a golden goddess in the center, perfect for a collector’s items or interior decor. This oil lamp dates to the 1980s. and is in full working condition.
4. Rare Hanging Oil Lamp
A rare hanging oil lamp made from brass and glass. It is a multi-burner hanging lamp which is very large in size. This piece was probably used during the western saloon era
5. Antique Max Kray Oil Lamp Art Nouveau with Statue Figurine Lady and Opaline White Glass
Material: Glass, Brass
Antique Max Kray oil lamp in the art nouveau style with a statue of a lady in metal and the body in opaline glass. The height is measured at 40cm tall/16 inches without the chimney and is in overall excellent condition.
6. Vintage Ceramic Dutch Clog Decorative Shoe Oil Lamp Aquality Products Japan
A vintage ceramic dutch clog decorative shoe oil lamp produced in Japan featuring a girl/lady sitting on a shoe. Measured in at 5 5/8 “ tall with little damage and in working condition.
7. Vintage Mid Century Lugene’s Aladdin Genie Miniature Ceramic Oil Lamp Giftcraft
Material: Glass, Brass, Metal
A 6” tall and 4” wide vintage lamp featuring a woman cradling a lamp with an orange chimney. The quality of the lamp is ok with some chips here and there.
8. Colonel Couple Small Oil Lamp Vintage Gold Gilt Hand-Painted Used 11″ M50
A vintage colonial couple standing at 11” in height featuring two young people one male one female hand-painted for a beautiful featured piece. No marking, damage, or chips perfect for room decor.
IV) Antique Hanging Oil Lamps
1. ANTIQUE MILLER JEWELED KITCHEN HANGING OIL LAMP (QUAIL PAINTED SHADE)
This Vintage Oil Lamp dates back to the 1850s-1890s and features a beautiful lake with two large birds as the main focus. The lamp stands tall at 44” and can be adjusted.
2. VINTAGE DUPLEX HANGING OIL LAMP WITH ORANGE CASED GLASS SHADE ~ FREE UK POSTAGE
Material: Glass, Metal, Brass
A Vintage hanging oil lamp dating back to the 1950s. The main feature is the large glass orange chimney. The sale does end soon so get this lamp while it lasts.
3. Antique Bradley Hubbard Hanging Parlor Lamp Vtg Library Oil Light Fixture Cabin Converted Electric Lantern Primitive Lighting Chandelier
Material: Glas, Metal
An antique late 1800s hanging parlor/library oil lamp created by Bradley Hubbard company. The lamp features a glass shade showing a small village with palm trees and dwellings.
4. Temple Hanging Oil Lamp Brass Sri Lanka – Glenn Erso Collection
A Vintage hanging oil lamp dating back to the late 1800s to early 1900s. It stands 11½” tall with a base of 8½”. The lamp is made of brass and features a Hindu cultural design.
5. Antique French Oil Lamp, Hanging Miners Lamp, Vintage Brass Betty Lamp France
A Vintage Hanging Brass Oil Lamp dating back to the 1920s found in France. The dimensions of the lamp are 15” in height, width 5.2” and depth 5.2”. The lamp weighs in at 0.775kg.
6. Vintage Metal Hanging Lamp, Victorian Style Black Metal Hanging Lamp with Milk Glass Shade
Material: Glass, Metal, Brass
Vintage Oil Lamp dating back before the 2000s, most likely the late 1900s. The overall condition is good with no chips or cracks. The dimensions of the lamp are 19.5” long from ceiling mount to tip, 9” wide, and a 4.5” diameter shade.
7. Antique Hanging Oil Lamp with White Milk Glass Shade, Brass Trim, 1800s, Farmhouse, Coastal, Cottage, Victorian
A gorgeous antique hanging oil lamp dating back to the 1800s from the Victorian era. Has a White milk glass shade with a brass body and delicate brass filigree decorations. It makes for the perfect inner decor lamp needed for a warm home.
V) Antique Hurricane Oil Lamps
1. Vtg Antique Milk Glass Oil Lamp Hand Painted Floral Hurricane BOTH Oil & Electric
A vintage oil lamp that is used but in excellent condition. The body is hand-painted which is still vibrant on all sides of the lamp. The wick and electrical attachment both work well still.
2. Vintage white milk glass hobnail hurricane oil lamp with metal base 18.5” tall
A vintage white milk glass hobnail hurricane lamp with a metal base standing at 18½” tall featuring an oil finish.
3. Vintage Mini Clear Glass Oil Hurricane Lamp/Small Oil Lamp/No Wick/8″ Tall Oil Lamp
Material: Glass, Metal
A vintage clear glass vintage lamp with a hurricane globe and no wick. Would make for a great addition to a collection or added to a home for a warm feeling. The lamp stands at 8¼” tall with the globe attached. No chips or cracks.
4. Vintage lime green hurricane oil lamp hand painted
Material: Metal, Brass, Glass
This is a great vintage oil lamp featuring a green satin glass with hand-painted strawberries and signed by the artist. The burner is a P&A Eagle Burner and in working condition making a great present for a collector.
5. RARE Antique Iron Base Finger or Hand Oil Lamp with Clear Rib and Dot Satin Glass Font-Vintage 1870-1890s-Ready to Use
Material: Glass, Cast Iron, Satin Glass, Brass
A rare listing featuring an antique iron base finger or hand oil lamp with a clear rib and dot satin glass font. The lamp dates back to the 1890s marked with “Queen Anne” on the flange. The Chimney is an antique hand-blown shade with a beaded top.
6. Amber Hobnail Kerosene Lamp
Material: Glass, Metal
This 1950s vintage hurricane style lamp features an amber hobnail style base with a hurricane style flute perfect for the oil lamp collector who needs one.
V) Antique Finger Oil Lamps
1. Antique Glass Finger Oil Lamp, Milk Glass, Flowers & Foliage. English Burner.
Material: Milk Glass
A vintage antique oil lamp with a milk glass font has a beautiful green and blue band. The lamp dates back to the 1900s with dimensions of 11 ¼” in height with an undamaged chimney.
2. Ancient Christian Oil Lamp Roman, 3rd-5th century AD
A very rare item dating back to the Roman era, 3rd-5th century AD. This terracotta lamp is perfect for someone looking to gain a piece of history in their collection.
3. Antique clear glass pedestal finger lamp
Material: Metal, Glass
A pretty antique clear glass base on an old oil lamp dating back to the 1890s-1920s. Design is called a “Zipper Loop” with ribbing around the top of the base. Perfect for a collector looking for a more clean collection.
4. Vintage Finger Oil Lamp Made in Japan of Porcelain and Clear Glass Shade – Reads “Historical Vincennes Indiana”
A clean 1960-1970s finger oil lamp is perfect for someone who is looking for a Japanese-made lamp. Dimensions are 7” tall and 5.5” wide. No damage and in great condition with no content.
5. Red glass finger oil lamp, vintage hurricane lamp, small oil lamp
Material: Glass, Brass
A small finger lamp, red in color and in great condition. The measurements are 8” tall with a 4 ½” width base perfect for some looking for that devil red in their collection of oil lamps.
6. Vintage Multi-Color Glass Oil Lamp with Finger Hold, Small 1960s Hong Kong Lantern with Red Chimney and Bubble Pattern, 6.5″ tall
A vintage multi-color glass oil lamp with a finger holder. Small 1960s Hong Kong lantern with Red Chimney and bubble pattern, 6.5” tall. The paint is dry and cracking in places and is in need of a gentle hand. Either way in good condition and ready for a collector.
7. Vintage Genie Oil Lamp with Gold Gilding Floral Detail
Material: Glass, Metal
A vintage oil lamp with a handle for use. No crack and no chips and in perfect condition for a sale to add to the collector’s dreams. This oil lamp measures 6 ⅝“ tall and 2 ⅛” wide.
Are Antique Oil Lamps Worth Anything?
On average, oil lamps are worth anything from $25-200, with factors such as design, use, and condition affecting the value. In general, larger, more decorative oil lamps can command a higher price, with smaller or novelty pieces tending to be lower in value. A particularly striking shade; such as those made of blue or cranberry glass can also increase the value of an oil lamp.
Oil Lamps: A Short History
Oil lamps first appeared in prehistory; a whopping 70,000 years ago. This form of lighting was also popular in ancient Greece and Rome, and who knows what kind of ideas and innovations were dreamed up under the glow of an oil lamp during this period. It’s likely that the oil lamp was actually one of the first items to be ‘mass produced’ in ancient workshops.
The design and functionality of the oil lamp remained largely unchanged until the 18th century when chemist Aime Argand made the ‘Argand Lamp’ which had an improved design and used a wick for more consistent burning and a long chimney-shaped glass shade for safer carrying.
Technically the oil lamp faded out of popularity in the 1800s when the burning product was replaced by Kerosine, but even so, people still referred to them as oil lamps; and still do to this day. The first modern Kerosine lamp was created in 1856 and came in three forms; lamps with flat wicks, lamps with tubular wicks, and lamps with mantles. While electricity wasn’t invented by the combined efforts of Edison and Tesla in 1876, it wasn’t until 1925 that most homes had electricity, and even still, many rural homes relied on oil lamps through the 30s and 40s.
When electricity became more widespread the use of the oil lamp naturally waned, and nowadays oil lamps are used more as a novelty and/or collected for their aesthetic and design appeal.
Oil lamps as a practical lighting solution may be reserved to the annuls of the past, but still represent stunning pieces of design that can finish off the aesthetic of a room. Miniature oil lamps are sweet curiosities that are affordable and fun to collect or add a quirky décor element. Whatever your style, we hope this article has illuminated the possibility of incorporating an oil lamp into your home décor.
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