Collecting Aladdin Kerosene Lamps

Today’s buyer’s guide takes a look at a popular collectible item, Aladdin kerosene lamps, sometimes known as oil lamps. These lamps were a technical innovation at a time when few households had electricity but today they’re known for their beauty and craftsmanship. This brief overview will take a look at the history of these lamps and offer a few tips about collecting them.

Guide Continued Below…

Aladdin lamps were invented to solve the problem of a flat wick lamp, namely the flickering flame that didn’t produce a lot of light. The innovation that the Aladdin mantle lamp provided was a round wick and a rare earth mantle that produced a steady glow equal to a 60 watt light bulb. They were also innovators in the advertising world, seizing upon the new media of the day in the 1920’s, radio, to promote their products in a way that would sound familiar to today’s viral marketers. Later the company, Aladdin Industries, expanded to product another popular American collectible, the lunch box, but I’ll leave that to another article.

Aladdin kerosene lamps were originally produced with brass bodies but the real collectibles started showing up in the 1930’s and 1940’s with beautiful colored glass bodies and globes. Some of the most popular colors were cobalt blue, alacite (ivory), moonstone and ruby red. These colors remain popular with collectors today although you can find other color variations. The styles they made included table lamps, bracket lamps and hanging lamps. You’ll also find Aladdin electric lamps, either ones made by the company itself or those converted by individuals.

When buying Aladdin lamps online there are a few things to consider. As always, make sure that you know the reputation of the seller. The best sellers will provide detailed information about the lamp and have great photos as well as having good feedback at online auction sites. Be wary sellers that don’t provide details or good photos or who don’t regularly sell antique or vintage items. Remember that having good information about the condition and provenance of the lamp are the main keys to getting a good deal. If you’re wanting to get into collecting these lamps seriously, I recommend getting a good reference book on them and perhaps joining a club dedicated to collecting them.

Take the time to examine the details of Aladdin lamps you’re thinking about purchasing and make sure that it fits within your budget and collection plans. Remember that finding a 100% original Aladdin lamp is rather rare since these lamps were made to be used. Fortunately, replacement parts are available so that if you want a working lamp this is doable. Also remember that there are reproductions out there so make sure you know what you’re getting, original or repro, both in terms of whole lamps and in parts. Reproduction Aladdin lamps usually show markings that indicate modern glass and metal manufacturing techniques. 

I hope this overview of collecting Aladdin kerosene lamps has been helpful. Let me know if you have any questions about them and, if I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to steer you in the right direction.

 


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30 Comments »

Comment by pinoy jokes video
2009-03-11 09:49:28

aladdin industries should also incorporate to their design, the rubbing of the lamp by 3 times granting user 3 wishes. LOL

 
Comment by RNB Love Songs
2009-03-11 20:02:02

This was a cool post. You managed to give plenty of historical background on the lamps that I had no idea about. Nicely done!

Comment by Funny Junk
2009-03-23 15:08:27

I agree. I thought this post was pretty neat. An interesting product I would have never expected on here.

 
 
Comment by The Blogger Source
2009-03-12 22:12:16

My grandmother had one though not sure what ever happened to it. She did use it.

Comment by sclerosis treatment
2009-04-06 11:48:17

Maybe you should ask your grandma to sell it on eBay or sell to me directly.

 
 
2009-03-16 08:23:54

I wasn’t aware that that is why Aladdin lamps were initially introduced. I also didn’t realize that they were a collectible item. How much do you think an original lamp albeit in need of some replacement parts would sell for? I see a lot of the ebay listings, but I’m wondering if those are reproduction units?

Comment by jfc
2009-03-16 08:42:20

Hi Hip Hop,

You have to check each eBay listing to find out what the seller is selling. Most of these lamps have had replacement parts from time to time if they’ve been used. Lantern mantles and other parts wear out just like light bulbs burn out.

In general, you’ll see prices from around $75 for Aladdin lamps that need replacement parts or have some wear or damage or that are of a common style. Lamps that were converted from kerosene to electric will also generally be in this price range or a little higher. Rarer vintage lamp styles or ones that are in excellent condition may command prices between $300-500, sometimes even higher. Even those in this category that are missing parts or are conversions may get $200 or so.

Naturally, the price varies according to the market and supply and demand but, from what I’ve heard recently, now is the time to be buying and not the best of times to be selling this kind of vintage lamp

 
 
Comment by Web Marketing
2009-03-19 08:13:27

From lamps to lunch boxes eh! It sounds like quite an interesting company to me. Did they promote their lunchboxes on the radio too? I look forward to the lunchbox post myself, but getting back to lamps I’d say that anybody who has experienced old fashioned farm living will know these lamps, and have fond memories of them.

 
Comment by bluetooth gps
2009-03-21 03:50:32

Wow, what an incredible collection of aladdin lamps. I loved that A Quality Shabby Aladdin Magic Oil Lamp Base Chic Roses.

 
Comment by michelle
2009-03-21 22:08:06

I was wondering because I know really nothing about these lamps , but am trying to help out a really nice lady, she has alot of these lamps but they are differnent makers,Like Fenton and some that I’m not sure but trying to one by one fiqure out. I’m trying to help research really what they are worth. AND I think I got in over my head LOL. One of her lamps is a “Fostoria” she said its not been electra-fied…I can’t spell that..is that a word? hehe.
also it has the font in it, it has the wick , oil burning and has a pansy decor pattern on it. Its very pretty. Would anyone know anymore or what questions, or advice would be the best course of action.
Thank you so much

Comment by jfc
2009-03-23 07:21:09

Hi Michelle,

The best thing to do is get in contact with someone in your area who does antique and vintage live auctions. If you don’t know of anyone right off, check AuctionZip to find one. They should be able to put you in contact with people who can appraise your lamps. Sometimes there’s a fee for this, especially if insurance valuation is needed, although some people will give you a free, non-binding, estimate of the value.

 
 
Comment by Typhoon
2009-03-23 05:51:10

Nice quality Aladdin Lamps..

 
Comment by Black Labradors
2009-03-28 01:25:33

I have never been into these kinds of lamps but my grandmother had loads of them… Some worth a pretty penny..

 
Comment by Camping Lights
2009-04-01 09:22:25

I think good clean, safe light is something that we all take for granted - try going camping with poor lighting and you will soon appreciate even a reproduction Aladdin lamp

 
Comment by Antler Lighting
2009-04-07 19:45:03

I think this whole country chic thing is going to take off - I mean if anyone will buy antler lighting they would probably buy an Aladdin kerosene lamp as well! At least Aladdin kerosene lamps are somewhat more transportable than a bloody big antler stuck in your ceiling LOL

 
Comment by Lorecee
2009-04-08 00:42:38

I actually used two of these to read and wash dishes by at night during my back to the land phase when I lived without electricity. One was a tabletop with a gorgeous ruby red shade in a spiral swirl pattern; the other one hung from the ceiling and just had a clear glass chimney. The light was actually easier on the eyes than electric incandescents, but the mantles could be cranky, and they were also expensive to replace. I was reading one night and when I looked up, the mantle was in the process of going up in flames.

I also had a propane mantle lantern, but I didn’t care for the light or the noise it made.

 
Comment by Setai miami
2009-04-08 05:35:12

Those look great. I have one just like that and it looks great on my shelf. I’m pretty glad I bought it.

 
Comment by Used Tires
2009-04-10 17:45:26

I wonder how strong the scent of the kerosene is with the lamp turned on. I have never had one of these lamps, (never seen one), but I know our house that is heated by oil, from time to time, I can smell the scent of the oil, especially if i go down in the basement, hehe.

Till then,

Jean

 
Comment by Donald
2009-04-16 03:49:06

These Lamps are Nice Looking but not sure if Kerosene smell is good, Yeah thats true some families dont like oil smell

Comment by Typhoon
2009-04-20 04:50:54

Ya I agree that the smell of kerosene is not good and many peolpe don’t like it too..

 
 
Comment by Health and safety
2009-05-13 11:26:40

A better alternative is lamp oil for indoor use or citronella oil for outdoor use. Both are available at any Wal-Mart, the lamp oil in the section by the candles, the citronella in the garden department.

 
Comment by Destiny
2009-05-18 17:05:25

My mother has collected these for years. She has a few that are very, very old. Once me and my sister were trying to put together a cabinet for the living room and we broke on of her lamps. I felt so terrible!!

 
Comment by Online Shopping
2009-05-21 08:10:07

Don’t have much time before moving and pouring out kerosene would mean toxic waste disposal, which will be hard to do. There isn’t that much fuel left in bottom of lamps; what harm is there in driving these in air-conditioned car, if safely wrapped in plastic and secured against breakage or spillage? Thanks for any advice!

Comment by jfc
2009-05-21 08:42:42

Hi Online Shopping,

If you’re just carrying it in your car and it’s wrapped and secure it should be OK. You just don’t want the kerosene to spill out.

Of course, shipping the lamp via the mail will mean cleaning it out entirely. Otherwise you’ll be inviting problems.

 
 
Comment by melayublog
2009-05-21 10:09:22

This stuff totally unique but I’m hope seen one that just utilize battery power.

 
Comment by Keyword Service
2009-05-26 12:33:51

Yes some kerosene lamps are quite beautiful. While growing up, my dad lived in an area that did not have electricity. So we know all about using candles and kerosene lamps as a main light source. They still can be dangerous if left unattended.

 
Comment by DoFollow - Chris
2009-06-04 20:28:29

We also had one as kids as a back up source of light. We lived in the sticks so our power was always slow to be restored.

 
Comment by gas rebate cards
2009-06-11 03:26:51

They look cool and all… but I couldn’t imagine that they would have been good for people’s health back in the day. Especially with a house that has no ventilation.

 
Comment by london hotels
2009-06-15 01:07:58

Nice stuff indeed!

 
Comment by ATV Auction
2009-10-05 16:16:09

Personally I think it’s kinda lame to collect these. I’ll leave that to the antique collectors. To me, these just do not have a functional purpose anymore.

 
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