West Sea Company

18. Lighting & Lamps

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN

 



18.94  FIGURAL GIMBAL LAMP.  Very rare, ship’s cabin lamp with the desirable aspect of being decorative as well as functional.  This handsome lantern is of English manufacture and is all brass construction.  It features a removable oil sump (reservoir) within a weighted brass body slung in gimbals.  The body of the lamp is nicely tapered, ending in a heavy solid sphere at the bottom.  The top is fitted with a classic pop-up “star” burner with wick advance knob impressed ”SHERWOODS LTD. B’HAM.”  This type of burner tilts back on a hinge to expose the wick for servicing.  It threads into the font with a positive fit and holds the crystal chimney by means of a small, knurled set screw.  The font (sump) fits nicely within the lamp body which seats snugly in the gimbal ring supported by the unique brass bracket in the form of a stylized dolphin.  The fine detail in the casting of the dolphin bracket and its shell back indicate early manufacture and not some later knock off.  The stout cast brass back has 4 holes for mounting to the bulkhead.  At the bottom of the lamp body is a heavy solid brass sphere which, by its heft, assures the proper balancing of the gimbal in a seaway.  This lamp itself measures 7 ¾ inches high by 5 inches wide at the widest, and protrudes 8 ½ inches from the bulkhead.  The entire assembly measures 12 inches high inclusive of the hand-blown crystal chimney.  Extra nice original condition with absolutely no material flaws.  The original lacquer shows wear in several locations and the surfaces have acquired a good patina evidencing years of actual use at sea.  A real rarity in marine lamps.  Only the second such example we have offered in our 38 years!  585


CAUTION

front
burner detail

burner open
bracket

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18.93    RARE FIGURAL SHIP’s CABIN LAMP.   Genuine second half 19th century ship’s cabin lamp  having the very desirable aspect of a detailed cast brass dolphin bracket.  Few ship’s lamps exhibit such a decorative feature, indicating this lamp must have come from an important cabin.  The heavily-weighted lamp body has a lovely flower form solid brass counter weight at the bottom and its original font and burner.  The burner is complete with its functional wick advance knob embossed with a pointed star.  The highly detailed dolphin bracket is very finely cast, abutting in an equally fine scallop shell mount.   Of great significance is the fact that the mount is accompanied by its removable mounting bracket and original mahogany back.  The dolphin bracket slips into slots on the backing with a positive fit, which, at the same time, is easily removed.  This exceptional offering is complete with its flawless hand-blown crystal glass chimney.  The all brass lamp body measures 6 ¼ inches tall from the burner to the base.  The dolphin bracket extends 7 ½ inches from the bulkhead.  The wooden mounting back is 3 by 6 inches.   The entire assembly stands 13 ½ inches tall with chimney.   Excellent original condition with a lovely statuary bronze age patina.  The melding of artistry and function is rarely found in all but the most desirable maritime applications.  This charming example is one of those scarce exceptions.  Circa 1880.  895 Special PackagingBack to Top


From our own collection, found in Northern Scotland  in the 1990’s.


CAUTION

perspective
detail

bracket
bracket assembly

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18.91 EARLY E.O.T. SIDELIGHTS.  Very, very scarce matched pair of 19th century oil lamps used to illuminate an early steamship’s bridge engine order telegraph.  These all brass lamps are hand-made and contain their early fonts and burners.  One is a whale oil type from the 1860’s and the other with wick advance knob is marked “Miller, U.S.A.”  The lamps are otherwise identical with a curved shape to fit on the telegraph and even curved glass!  The tops have charming hemispherical chimneys and the sides have a hinged door with press fit locking latch.  The bodies of the lamps themselves measure 8 5/8 inches.  The curved mounting plates are 7 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches wide.  Outstanding original condition with a fantastic original age patina exemplary of their 150 years.  389 /pair


opposite
open

curved glass

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18.91  AMERICAN BINNACLE SIDE LIGHT.  Extra, extra nice19th century American binnacle side lamp of superior quality.  This all brass lamp was hand-made in an unusual rectangular form, since most binnacle lamps were round or semi-circular.  Even more unusual is its rectangular chimney with arched top and perforated sides.  Access to the interior is gained by a very clever door hinged at the top and locking on the bottom with a complex spring-loaded latch.  The original font and burner are retained within a sliding track on the bottom.  The font easily slides in and out by means of the small pivoting ring on its side.  The wedge-type burner is embossed “SIMPLEX” and the wick advance knob is marked “E. MILLER & CO. Made In U.S.A.”  Speaking to the quality of its construction the lamp has air boxes on either side of the font which open to small aspiration holes on the exterior.  The front of the lamp retains its original old wavy glass in perfect condition.  The front sides of the lamp have “wings” which would have slid into tracks mounted to the side of a binnacle.  Alternatively, the lamp could have been mounted to the side of an early wooden boat binnacle, attached by screws, three on each side of the wings.   6 ¾ inches tall by 4 ¾ inches wide and 2 ½ inches thick.  Outstanding original condition with a lovely statuary bronze age patina. For the connoisseur of marine lighting, this example represents the best of the best of its genre.  We have never seen better.  289


side
burner

maker

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18.88 SHIP’s CABIN LAMPS. Stunning, matched pair of English cabin lamps from the 1920’s or earlier, made by the lamp making firm of “VIKING, Registered Trademark” as boldly embossed on the oval brass maker’s label on the front of the chimneys. These pristine, original oil-fired lamps were made entirely of the finest quality thick-walled sheet brass. Attesting to their quality, the front panel is thick beveled glass and is made removable by loosening one screw for cleaning. The right side of each lamp is equipped with a sliding door which lifts up to access the original fonts within. The complex fonts are double-walled for maximum aspiration of the burner and have “breather holes” on two sides. There is a handle on the font for its easy insertion and removal to accommodate servicing and filling. To these ends, each has an oil filler hole in the font with screw-on cap and a wick advance knob on the burner. The bottoms of the lamp bodies also have breather holes. These are covered by the sliding door which is equipped with a hasp for secure locking when required. The back wall of each lamp is covered with a unique silvered dual panel with reflects the light emitted from the flame to the left and right. The top of each lamp has a hemispherical hinged chimney cover and the back is equipped with very substantial cast brass male hanging bracket. In addition, the sides of the lamps have square tubular fittings which were designed to fit over support prongs on either side of the lamp body. The lower backs of each also have a concealed triangular air inlet abutting the bulkhead. Incredible, virtually pristine condition in lustrous bright brass surfaces with no flaws! These are the nicest lamps of their type we have ever encountered in our 39 years. They would make an awesome statement in an entrance way. That noted, we would highly discourage modifying them by drilling or other permanent changes for electrification, since they are very rare survivors from such devaluating practices begun in the 1920’s onward. 19 ½ inches high by 9 3/8 wide and 7 ½ deep. Each weighs an amazing 12 pounds! Bargain priced. A few years ago a pair of lamps of this age and condition would easily have fetched $3,000. 1895

A substantial number of reproduction “Viking Cabin Lamps” were made in Taiwan from 1970 through the early 1990’s. There is no comparison to them and the real thing. The differences in quality are easily recognizable.


CAUTION

lamp
inside

open
interior

font and burner
burner detail

font bottom
maker


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18.86  LIGHT CURTAIN LANTERN.  Unbelievable!  This is an extremely rare late 1800’s or at the latest, pre-1910 British ship’s lamp with the unusual feature of being able to be darkened without dousing the light source – in this case a single candle!  This massive ship’s light is constructed of thick sheet copper with heavy cast brass fittings.  The quality and heft of this lamp really defy description, the likes of which few familiar with marine lighting have encountered before!  The upper body of the lamp bears the embossed oval brass maker’s tag reading “BINKO RIDSDALE CO., LONDON.”   Other makers of similar but smaller lamps were Bulpitt & Sons and Eli Griffiths & Sons, both of Birmingham, England.  The maker was located in the heart of the London ships’ manufactory on 54 & 120 Minories.  The thick, massive magnifying lens is set into a tinned copper frame.  Below, a brass lever connected to an internal shield allows the light source to be completely covered.  There is a locking lever at the top to maintin the curtain in place.  On the reverse is the hemispherical hinged door with sliding pin closure.  It has a stout built-in parabolic mirror which doubles as a stiffener.  Inside are the remnants of a brass candle holder with bayonet twist-off cap.  It would have been spring-loaded to push a nearly 2 inch diameter candle up to the top as it was consumed.   The top of the lamp is equipped with a large aspirated chimney held by stout brass brackets and a pivoting brass hanger with securing pin on a chain.  This huge relic of the late 19th century stands 29 inches tall by 10 ½ inches in diameter and weighs a hefty 25 pounds.  As rare as they come!   2895 Special Packaging

Given extensive research on-line and in books pertaining to early lighting, it is still uncertain why the British chose to manufacture such behemoths producing a mere single candle power!  But the innovative light curtain did allow the user the convenience of “turning off” the light without blowing out source.   The timeframe of such light curtain lamps appears to have been in the 20 year period between 1890 and 1915 leading up to the Great War.  Subsequent to that time, scarce war resources were no longer available to produce such extravagant devices, additionally spurred by the advance of electric lighting.  As such, this relic comes from a narrow window in time, of which very few examples survive – especially one in nearly pristine original condition!  This is a true museum piece. 


CAUTION

detail
back

open
interior

left
right

light curitain lever
maker

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18.83  GREAT LAKES RUNNING LIGHT.   Finest quality small craft running lamp with “TRIPLEX” port and starboard lighthouse-like lenses patented in 1910.  The lamp itself was made by “Geo. B. Carpenter, Chicago,” as indicated on the oval brass maker’s tag.  It was patented April 1st 1913 as embossed on the rear bracket.  This sturdy little lamp has a brass chimney cap and stout iron ring for hanging when not supported by the bracket.  The all brass font and burner screw into the base with a bayonet twist.  Well aspirated for maximum light output including an internal reflector.  A removable “light curtain” is installed in a sliding track between the two lenses.  The red and green lenses are both in perfect condition.  10 ½ inches tall overall and 5 1/8 inches in diameter.  7 ¾ inches front to back.  Sound but well-used condition.   Totally complete and original.  269


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port
starboard

back
burner

triplex
maker

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18.45  RARE SHIP’s ONION LAMP.   Lovely, very early ship’s globe lantern or “onion lamp” from the days of sail.  This lamp is almost certainly of American manufacture.  It is of all copper construction with its original blown glass globe.  Entirely hand-made, it exhibits neat riveted and soldered joints, punched cruciform vents and a castellated top.  The top and bottom of the lamp are connected by 5 stout copper supports which double as guards encircled by an equally heavy equatorial ring.  The top of the lamp hinges open and there was a provision for a hasp.  The blade is present but the flap is not.   This truly wonderful old lamp measures 15 inches tall (17 1/2 inches overall with the handle) and is 11 inches in diameter   The thick glass globe is wavy with bubbles and inclusions, typical of glass manufactured prior to the Civil War.  One heat crack in the glass does exist which, happily, does not even show from most perspectives.   The font with burner, most likely whale oil, is no longer present.  Lovely form, condition, and age patina with no corrosion.  The biggest and best lamp of its type we have yet come across.  A very rare example of a nicely preserved early marine lantern.  Circa 1850.   595

Copper, an elemental metal prized for its heat conductivity, malleability and resistance to corrosion, was the premium material used by manufacturers of the earliest marine lighting.


TOP

OPEN

GLOBE

BACK

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18.77  HUGE SHIP’s MASTHEAD LAMP.   Very impressive all copper and brass German ship’s masthead lamp from the turn-of-the-last-century.  This extra large ocean-going navigational light retains its beautiful molded Freznel glass lens marked with 3 “G”s within a triangle.  The top front of the lamp bears the embossed brass tag reading “TOPLICHT.”  The lamp body is made of heavy riveted copper.  There are 4 cast brass brackets, 2 on each side, which supported the lamp on rods affixed to the top of the ship’s superstructure or mast.  A large copper bail handle is attached to the top for carrying.  That top is also equipped with a hinged, castellated chimney cap to disperse heat and to provide an opening from which to inspect the burner within.  To those ends the lamp is complete with a large copper oil sump (font) mounted on a slide-in tray.  The sump has a threaded brass oil filler cap and a support for its parabolic reflector.  The complex burner is of the finest typed with dual wicks, dual wick advance knobs and built-in snuffer.  It is complete with its beautiful and original crystal chimney marked “ANCHOR BRAND FIRE PROOF” with anchor emblem.  Access is gained through the back by means of the hinged copper door with sliding pin closure.  This massive old ship’s lantern stands 21 ¼ inches tall exclusive of the bail handle, 12 ¾ inches wide at the widest by 10 ½ inches deep and weighs an impressive 16 pounds!  Outstanding condition with no dents, dings or losses and a lovely old age patina.  The Freznel lens is perfect.   895  

CAUTION

DETAIL
SIDE
BACK

OPEN
BURNER ASSEMBLY
CHIMNEY

 

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