Buying an Antique Victorian Oil Lamp

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Buying advice

An antique oil lamp is both attractive and functional and can add a sense of history to a home.We offer a wide variety of antique  oil lamps with many different styles and designs. The key to buying an antique oil lamp is to find a lamp that suits the homes decor,this buying guide will offer information about the history,types and styles of antique oil lamps,it will also provide tips to assist the selection process and instructions for care and maintenance after purchasing.

History of Antique Victorian Oil Lamps

Antique  oil lamps are very popular with collectors. Some collect them for their historical value, while others simply want their aesthetic value. An antique oil lamp can be an excellent accent to many areas of the home, both inside and out.

Outdoors: Since the flame is protected from the wind, a hurricane lamp is ideal for the backyard. It’s romantic, moody lighting can lend ambience to any outdoor seating or dining area. Choose multiple lamps with different coloured shades for a more eclectic look.

Seasonal Centre Piece: An antique  oil lamp works well in the middle of a plate, tray or mirror, surrounded by seasonal decorations, a wreath, pine cones, fruit, etc.  Keep away from anything flammable.

Bathroom Accent: An antique oil  lamp in a bathroom is an unexpected surprise that can transform the entire room into a spa-like atmosphere. It creates an ideal environment for long, relaxing soaks in the tub.

Parts of Antique Victorian oil Lamps
There are many variations in antique oil lamp design, but most are comprised of the same essential components.
Metal or marble stand that is threaded with a rod to support the lamp
Font or reservoir
Glass or metal fuel container that rests on top of the base, and is sometimes part of the base or foot
Kerosene Oil 
Controls the size of the flame with with thumb wheels or that adjusts the wick
Flat ribbon or round cord made of cotton, extends into the font to absorb fuel
Glass enclosure, open at the top, fits over the font to provide the brightest possible light
Coloured or patterned, made of glass, fits over the chimney to diffuse the light
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Factors to Consider When Buying Antique Victorian Oil Lamps

Antique oil lamps can be a stylish and practical addition to a home, as when the power goes out they can be brought out to light the darkened home, and are much safer than naked flames. Glass lamps also are fashionable decoration. Antique oil lamps are a very collectible style of antique glass lamp, so buyers must look carefully to determine their true time and place of origin, as many replicas and reproductions are also available.

Brass Collar - Remove the globe and burner to access the brass collar. Original hurricane oil  lamps have a brass collar with internal or external threads. Newer lamps are not likely to have a brass collar at all.
Glass - An original antique oil lamp will probably have acid etched pattern glass, or glass with a pressed design. Reproduction glass will feel greasy or slick and is not quite smooth. There could also be little globs of glass left over from the manufacturing process. As a final test, try sticking a piece of cellophane tape to the glass. It won’t adhere easily if the glass is reproduction.
Burner – Original burners are normally brass or silver plate. Check for a patent number, date and maker details which could be on the collar or burner thumb wheels. The flat part of the crown may also have stamped information.
Quality - Extra handwork and quality craftsmanship are hallmarks of original antique oil lamps. Turn the lamp base over and check for a stamps or patent marks. This might be on the bottom edge or on the inside of the base. 

How to Care for Antique Hurricane Oil Lamps

An antique oil lamp requires careful attention and maintenance. If left untouched for too long, the vigorous cleaning needed to remove the dirt and grime could damage the integrity of the lamp and affect its value. Below are cleaning instructions to care for an antique oil lamp.

Place the antique oil lamp on a soft towel or thick layer of newspaper to catch any spills. Remove the glass globe very carefully to prevent damage.
Carefully wash the globe in warm soapy water. Wipe liberally the inner areas that have accumulated soot, and any outer areas that have accumulated buildup. Use a cotton towel or dry cloth to wipe the globe dry.
Unscrew the burner from the oil  font. take the wick out of the oil, remove it from the burner and throw it away. Now is a good time to replace the old oil. New oil will make the flame burn brighter and give off less smoke. Drain the old oil into a suitable container for recycling, and wipe the outside of the lamp with a damp rag.
Insert a new wick into the burner and turn the thumb wheel until a finger-width of the wick is showing at the top. Fill the font a little over halfway with new oil. Insert the other end of the wick into the font and screw the burner back on.
Replace the glass globe, again taking care to avoid damage. 

Accessories and Add-ons for Antique Oil Lamps

Below are a few items that will assist in the care and enjoyment of an antique oil lamp.
Scissors or a knife to trim the wick of oil lamps
Kerosene Oil
Alternate shades to quickly change the lamp’s appearance, and the light it casts
Mild soaps or cleansers
Soft cloths or brushes
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Finding Antique oil Lamps on eBay

Once you determine the type of antique oil  lamp you want to purchase, visit the Antiques portal on eBay, click on the Antique Furniture sub-category, then the Lamps sub-category and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for Antique Oil Lamps on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for antique Victorian lamps. For example, to find antique oil lamps, type 'antique Victorian oil  lamps' into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customize the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tipspage for more advice on searching for antique oil lamps with keywords. If you can’t find the exact antique oil lamp you want, try shopping eBay Stores.


With this guide, you can find all the information you need about antique oil lamps from their history to the popular styles and attributes. Once you have collected this information, you can buy an antique oil lamp safely and securely on eBay.
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