Glass oil lamps have been a major part of American’s lives since the early 1900’s. With the price of petroleum dropping below $1 per barrel, it provided a cheap and abundant source of fuel to stimulate the glass oil lamp industry. This new and cheap fuel source also prompted research on improving the glass oil lamp. This included what is known as a incandescent mantle, it which the mantle changed shaped from a regular round wick into a cylindrical structure of organic material that was infused with the chemicals thorium and cerium. This produced a much brighter and whiter light than the traditional flame glass oil lamps. Fueling America’s growing industrial age, more than 4,000,000 mantles were sold each year in the early part of the twentieth century.
Glass oil lamps in use today are more for ambiance rather than necessity for light. There are also more abundant and cleaner fuel sources available such as liquid paraffin oil. The glass oil lamps available today also burn longer, often for days at a time. They also come in a variety of exotic designs to improve the interior decor of ones’ room.
Oil lamp supplies have changed with the times as well, although kerosene lamps are still available and in use today, kerosene lamps are more popular in outdoor lamps such as for camping. Growing more popular theses days, we have liquid paraffin lamp oil. Paraffin oil burns cleaner, as well as smokeless, and often comes in a “light it and forget it” mode because it lasts a long time. Oil lamp supplies have also changed from mantles being the dominant choice to a growing popularity in exotic styles of wicks, such a fiberglass strands. However, regular rope wicks are also popular for ambiance.
Glass oil lamps and the supplies have lasted a long time in America, once being the main lighting source, and will not likely go anywhere soon. This is because they are still a very popular for interior decor because their magic can never go away.