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kerosene lamps

a flame that lit the world

With the discovery of petroleum came a product that would literally have a global effect on lighting - kerosene. It was affordable, burned brighter than whale oil, was much easier to acquire, and did not turn rancid. A culmination all of these as well as other factors and the onset of the Civil War led to the decline and end of the whaling industry

These photos show examples of kerosene lamps from the estate collection.


  • The first photo is a general overview.

  • The second photo shows a hand-painted lamp (back right), a miniature lamp (center), and a tin lamp (left back).

  • The third photo shows a cranberry base lamp (left back), and a lamp that attaches to the wall with the black iron base, made by a blacksmith, to hold it in place (foreground of photo).

The kerosene lamp has a wick that is rectangular in shape and is much wider than the wick for a whale oil lamp. Glass chimneys, called hurricanes, are used to protect the flame.

gone with the wind...

Clear glass kerosene lamps gave way to fancier oil lamps, such as the Gone With the Wind lamp pictured here. The lamp is called a Gone With the Wind (GTW) because it was the lamp that was featured in the movie.


This particular oil lamp is made by Fostoria. The base of the lamp is the oil container. A beautiful globe, matching the base, and a chimney, would have also been a part of this oil lamp. Unfortunately, both the globe and chimney are missing. I have seen the matching pieces for sale on the internet. I imagine, if one were truly an oil lamp collector or enthusiast, replacement sources are readily available in multiple places.



A beautiful Gone With the Wind oil lamp base by Fostoria

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