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Lamp Font with Red Threading

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Artifact Description

Of the three glass lamp fonts recovered from the SS Republic wreck site, one example was hand blown with elaborate hand-decorated red glass threads, which were probably intended to conceal the yellowish oil (or more likely the kerosene) that had recently been introduced as the lamp fuel of choice. The latter was both cheaper and less odorous than whale oil. The threaded decoration on the lamp was especially labor intensive, thus making the object more expensive. The stem and foot of the font are broken off, but the stem would originally have been about as long as the glass font and would have likely terminated in a colorless glass pressed foot or base. 

Neither the burner nor brass joint connectors were found at site. It is possible the ship was transporting separate lamp components as cargo, quite common in fact, when the glass industry produced separate glass parts for the lamp industry, providing employment for hundreds of workers who derived a living by assembling lighting devices.

Other Details

H: 12.4 cm

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