Antique Patriotic Eagle Miniature Oil Lamp Ca 1898

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The brass hardware on this lamp (which has been polished) is also in very good condition. T are no splits or cracks in the brass collar which is securely attached to the font. The Nutmeg burner (marked The P & A MFG CO ACORN on the freely turning thumb wheel; no wick in this lamp) screws tightly into the collar. (Thumb wheels marked ACORN are found quite frequently on Nutmeg burners. Weve often wondered why a Nutmeg burner would have a thumb wheel marked Acorn. Weve concluded that, perhaps, the Plume & Atwood Company which made both the Nutmeg and Acorn burners simply had an oversupply of Acorn thumb wheels at the time these burners were made). The brass shade ring fits snugly over the burner gallery and holds the shade firmly in place.

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Of all the lamps shown in the four standard miniature lamp reference books or discussed in books like McDonalds and Thuros, very few have an overtly political or commemo…

Condition of this lamp : This lamp is in very good condition with no major defects. The top and bottom edges of the shade are rough (this is the way these lamp shades were made) and show some minor and typical flea-bites. The paint is generally in very good condition with only minor wear. The gilding on the embossed Eagle motifs on the shade and on the base does show some wear, more on the base than on the shade.

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Antique Patriotic Eagle Miniature Oil Lamp, Ca. 1898

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Background & History: According to Ann Gilbert McDonald (Evolution of the Night Lamp) this Eagle miniature oil lamp was advertised in the trade journal China, Glass & Lamps on June 29, 1898. That date was in the middle of the Spanish American War (April 25-August 12, 1898) and it makes us wonder if this lamps decor was inspired by the patriotic fervor which gripped the country during this time. The Eagle depicted in four places on this lamp is certainly more war-like than our national symbol. On our national symbol, the Eagle clutches an olive branch in one talon and a sheaf of arrows in the other. On this lamp the Eagle is clutching two crossed arrows and no olive branch. Interestingly, on 3 of the embossed Eagle motifs the arrow heads are on the top but on one of the embossed Eagle motifs (on the shade) the arrows heads are on the bottom.

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We dont know if this has any significance at all but think its strange–and is perhaps an error made by the mold maker. The lamp was manufactured by the Eagle Glass Company of Wellsburg, West Virginia. McDonald states that this lamp was not the companys only night lamp, but was its most famous. McDonald shows the lamp in full color on page 55 of her book. The lamp is also pictured in Frank & Ruth Smiths book Miniature Lamps in Figure 275. The lamp was made in a number of color combinations (blue/yellow, red/gold and green/pink among them) and according to the Smiths the colors were usually poorly fired-onto the lamp and are thus frequently worn or faded. The Smiths also note that, in 1900, a wholesaler offered these lamps at $2.25/dozen or $.187 each ($62.35 or about $5.20 each in todays dollars).

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EAGLE Night Lamp by Eagle Glass Company, Ca. 1898

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