Oil lamps are humanity’s earliest form of artificial light. Historical evidence suggests we have been using oil lamps since at least 20,000 years ago. Incredibly, the basic mechanism for oil lamps – an oil reservoir and a wick – has hardly changed during the time.
However, in 1668, oil lamps underwent a major technological upgrade courtesy of Dutch painter Jan van der Heyden. He devised oil lanterns with a closed oil reservoir and carbon dioxide outlet which prevent wicks from being exposed to the weather directly. His oil lamp glass quickly dotted the streets of Amsterdam as the city became the first one in Europe to have street lighting.
His innovation remains the last major breakthrough for oil lamps as the advent of electricity saw oil lamps being quickly replaced with light bulbs. So if oil lamps have become obsolete, why are we still talking about them right now?
Oil lamps do not produce smoke residues. Thus, you don’t have to be concerned with soot or darkened walls and ceilings. You also don’t have to worry about their scent latching on to clothes, curtains or upholstery.
Furthermore, in cases of extended blackouts, oil lamps are significantly safer compared to candles – a falling candle is a serious fire hazard.
However, perhaps the greatest appeal of oil lamps is the warm and soothing mood they bring to living spaces. There’s just something comforting about the yellow light of oil lanterns – they can add so much depth to your home’s ambiance. Even when the wicks are unlighted, the vintage lantern casings contribute to the rustic atmosphere.
On the subject of casings, a good quality oil lamp glass can last for decades with proper care. Your grandchildren could literally inherit the oil lamps you buy today. Talk about a long-term home décor investment!
Selecting the perfect oil lamp for your home is all about balance. Your lamps shouldn’t overpower a space, but neither should they drown behind other elements.
For modern homes, a Karlskrona Lampfabrik Flaggskär Kerosene Lamp will work wonderfully when placed strategically on a veranda or patio. The beautiful shiny brass finish will keep it visible even when it’s unlighted. Once you light the wick, the lamp will cast lovely brightness and shadows on an already lighted space.
For informal, bohemian-inspired décor, the Koholmen Kerosene Lamp, either in pink or ruby red finish, will add a burst of color to your home. The delicate beauty of the mouth-blown glass will instantly enhance the ambiance of the space it occupies.
For more formal settings, Klong’s Patina Oil Lamp should do the trick nicely. This French burner, designed by the Broberg & Ridderstråle design studio, is made from glass and lacquered steel – and the wick is fiberglass! At 400 mm by 170 mm, it’s capable of exuding a strong, benign presence.
Would you like to explore more choices? Well go right ahead!