To keep light in a home during the 1800′s required the use of oil lamps, for the most part. The glass lamps were functional, put out enough candlepower to light a small room, and served as night lights for the kids.
The first one above, circa 1820, is a clear blown glass lamp with a pressed bottom. You poured the oil in the top and sealed it with a cork. The yellow glass lamp was also a blown glass lamp, both made by the Sandwich Glass Co. near Boston, Massachusetts.
It was the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. that revolutionized glass production beginning about the 1830s. Instead of cutting designs into glass, glass was blown mechanically into forms that produced intricate detail in a fraction of the time of hand blown glass – about every 15 seconds. The cost of glass dropped dramatically for consumers.
Another hand blown glass lamp, circa 1840, not necessariy produced by the Sandwich Glass Co., used a heavy pewter collar which was appropriate since it also burnt heavy oil.
By 1845, Cornelius and Baker created this decorative brass table lamp that used mineral oil or kerosene to emit light. It was messy and dirty, but it certainly did the job well.
The little one with the two prongs had a brass cover and used a cable with ring. It was lit by a match when the top was off and burned mineral oil, too. This was a primary lamp from the 1845 to about 1865.