Rare Antique Amber-globed Brass Skater's Or Hurricane Lantern/mini Oil Lamp For Sale
Brass ("Klondike", "Cadet", "Gem" or
other) Skater's Lantern, Ca. 1885-1915, with "RARE" Amber Glass Globe
About 10 3/4" to top of bail handle
About 6 3/4"
tall to top of cap
About 3 1/8" in diameter at base
Brass ("Klondike", "Cadet", "Gem" or
other) Skater's Lamp with amber glass globe
Similar to S2-8, Far Right
With amber globe, rated "rare"
Manufacturer unknown, Ca. 1885-1915
No markings on burner thumb wheel
Excellent condition; one broken vent hole on burner
Probably used as
either a decorative or signal lamp
Background & History:
There are several remarkably similar
little "Skater's" lamps, or lanterns, among which it can be difficult to distinguish. One of these is the "Klondike" shown on the far
right in Figure 8 of Ruth Smith's book "Miniature Lamps II"; another is the "Jewel" shown in Figure 9 of the same book.
Anthony Hobson (in his books "Lanterns Which Lit our World", Volumes 1 and 2)
shows one labeled "Cadet", another labeled "The Little Gem" and a tin
lantern labeled "Pearl". We've also seen a lamp called "Little Bob's"
(which Thuro, "Oil Lamps: The Kerosene Era in North America" mentions as being
frequently found in Canada) and
one or more others with unspecified names. These lamps vary in the shape,
placement and size of the vent holes in the cap and below the burner and in
the shape of the font. Some are made of brass, some of tin and some are
found in both tin and brass versions. Without close inspection, it's tough to tell one
from the other. (An exception to this should be the "Jewel" shown in
Figure 9 of Ruth Smith's book; although her book does not mention it, these
lanterns have the word "Jewel" embossed on the top of the cap and sometimes
have the word "Jewel" embossed on the glass globe. We suspect that the
lamp shown in Figure 9 may not actually be a "Jewel" but may be another one of
these very similar and easily confused lanterns. While Smith describes
the "Jewel" as a brass lantern, we have only ever seen it in tin. The
old Butler Brothers' ad reproduced in the front of the Smith book indicates
that the Jewel is made of tin and the Klondike of brass). The lantern offered
here appears to be identical in configuration to the Klondike and to the Cadet and the Little Gem shown in the
two Hobson books. The burner thumb wheel is unmarked and thus provides
no clue as to the lamp's manufacturer or true identity. As
for the approximate date of manufacture, we know that the "Klondike" and
"Jewel" lanterns were listed in a 1912 wholesaler's catalog. Hobson
dates the similar "Cadet" lantern as between 1887 and 1914.
(We also found a listing for a Cadet lantern pictured in the 1892 catalog of Pitkin & Brooks, Chicago, wholesalers of crockery, china and lamps). Thus, we'd estimate this lamp's date of manufacture as somewhere between 1885
Skater's lamps are interesting in that their name conjures up rather romantic
images of the Victorian era. Several authors do mention them being used
by skater's and Hobson suggests that they were placed on the edge of the
ice, where the skaters left their shoes (after putting on their skates) to mark the
location of those shoes. Perhaps the colored globes (like the amber one
on this lantern) served to help distinguish one party's shoes from another's
(e.g., "Our shoes are by the amber lantern over there.") With clear glass
globes these little lanterns show up fairly frequently (we've recorded almost
1000 sightings of tin and brass lanterns with clear glass globes since June of
2002 on and at various live sales). So, unless we're prepared to believe that
our Victorian forbears all spent a good deal of their time gliding around on
ice on winter evenings, it makes more sense to think of these little lanterns
as general purpose outdoor lights which could easily be carried around and
which would not be subject to being blown out by the wind. In fact, Thuro ("Oil Lamps III") calls these kind of lanterns generically
"Hurricane Lanterns" rather than "Skater's" Lamps. And Hobson
("Lanterns That Lit Our World, Book Two") describes a similar lantern (the
"Pearl) being advertised as "useful for decorating yachts, motor boats,
regattas and lawn parties". The 1892 Pitkin & Brooks catalog
describes the Cadet lantern as "a small lantern for house use."
While many of these lamps were used the way we use flashlights
today (in order to see at night, especially outdoors), Hobson points out that
the colored globes which were available for these lanterns at extra cost were
"to be seen" rather than to see by. That supports their use as
decorative outdoor items and as markers for one's shoes at the edge of the
skating ice or perhaps, even as some sort of signaling device. That
these lanterns were available with colored globes is evidenced by the listing
in a 1912 wholesale catalog which offers these lanterns with "red, white
[clear?] and blue" globes.
as noted above, these lanterns with clear glass globes are exceedingly common
(showing up on on average about twice a week), lanterns like this one
with a colored glass globe are exceedingly hard to find. In fact,
Hulsebus ("The Price Guide for Miniature Lamps") rates this type of brass
lantern with an amber globe as being "rare" (see the note below on our use of
these ratings in items). And our data supports that rating; over
the past almost 11 years we've seen just two complete and undamaged examples of a lantern
with an amber globe (one in brass and one in tin) offered on and just one
brass lantern at a live sale. That certainly does seem, to us at
least, as warranting a rating of "rare"!
reports that the "Klondike" was pictured in Butler Brothers' 1912 wholesale catalog and was
priced, wholesale, at $1.75/dozen or $.146 each (that's about $42/dozen or about $3.50
each in today's dollars). A similar lantern in tin, shown in the same catalog,
sold for $.79/dozen (or about $1.65 each in today's dollars). Hobson claims that a similar tin lantern (the
"Pearl") sold retail in 1909 for about $1.67 each (about $42.00 each in
today's dollars) although that doesn't sound realistic in comparison to the
documented wholesale price of the "Klondike". The Cadet listed
in the Pitkin and Brooks catalog sold for $4.00/dozen in brass (about $130 in
today's dollars or about $11 each) and for $5.00/dozen in nickel (about $13.50
today's dollars). There certainly seem to have been as many different
prices for these lanterns as there were models and brands!
Condition of this lamp:
This brass lantern has been carefully hand polished and looks much like it
must have looked when it was originally purchased. It is in excellent
condition, with but a single break in the hardware vent holes below the globe. The
fourth and fifth photos (which on first look appear to be identical) are
intended to show the little sliding brass "door" amidst the vent holes in both
the open and closed positions. The break between two of the vent holes
can be seen in the fifth photo just to the right of the little "door".
We believe that this door was to provide a way for the lantern's user to light
the lamp by inserting a match without having to remove the globe.
unmarked thumb wheel turns freely; there is no wick in this lamp.
amber globe is in similarly fine condition. There are a couple of
small bubbles on the outer surface of the glass as you might expect (see the last two
photos). Bubbles and other imperfections are fairly common in old glass
like this.The globe appears to have been made in a two part mold (two
vertical mold lines are just barely visible).
provided below the first photo to the left.
This is an excellent
example of an old lantern from the early part of the 20th century, one that
may have been used to mark the spot where some Victorian ice skaters left
their shoes, to add some gay decoration to a yacht or garden party or perhaps
to simply provide some light while on the way to the outhouse.
About the Use of
Words Like "Scarce" and "Rare"
When we see items which
like "Scarce" and "Rare"--especially when those words are applied to items
that we know to be extra-ordinarily common we find it disturbing. We
realize that some ers,
not having or knowing of a better way of assessing an item's scarcity, use these
terms quite subjectively and frequently based on their own personal experience.They simply don't know
whether an item is common, scarce or rare. We take two steps to describe
the scarcity of a lamp.
First, we only use the words
"Scarce", "Rare", "Very Rare", "Very Very Rare" and "Extremely Rare" if the item
in question is judged to be so by an acknowledged outside and independent
source. For miniature lamps, we use the ratings in Marjorie Hulsebus 2006
edition of the "Price Guide for Miniature Lamps". Marjorie's ratings are
also somewhat subjective (they are based on the collective view of a panel of 12
experienced miniature lamps collectors--we were members of that panel),
but were at least arrived at independently of the sale or offering of any
particular lamp. We don't always
agree with the Price Guides ratings but if we disagree, we will still quote the
guide's rating and then provide the reason why we don't agree.
Second, since June of 2002, we have
collected and recorded data on the offering of over 58,000 listed miniature
lamps on and over 5,000 lamps offered at selected live sales (ones
which we attended or from which we were able to get reliable data). Every day we
review several thousand new items; from among those, we identify the
that are listed in the standard reference books and record basic information
(identifying features, condition, sale end-date, etc.) on each.
When the sale ends we go back and record whether the lamp sold or not and for how
much. We keep all of
this data in an online database and make the database available free of
charge to members of the Night Light Club and to others who have requested
access. We don't see every listed miniature lamp that's offered on ,
but we estimate that we see more than 85-90% of them. When we quote the
Price Guide's scarcity rating for a given lamp, we generally also provide
information, from our database, on the number of times during the period we've collected data that
we've seen that lamp offered on . And it's this data that allows us to
substantiate, refine or, at times, to respectfully disagree with the rating in the Price Guide.
All rights reserved.
The contents of this listing are protected by U. S. copyright laws and by
policy. The use of substantial portions of this listing verbatim or with
only inconsequential changes
without the express written consent of the
is prohibited. Such use, at the discretion of the authors, may be
reported to as being in violation of policies. Please contact
us if you wish to use any portion of this listing in your own listings or for
Our objective is to have happy, satisfied customers. We will work with
you to satisfactorily resolve any problems.
Feel free to ask any questions prior to offerding. We try to
answer all questions promptly. Just click on 's "Ask seller a
question" link above to send us an email through .
Please offer only if you intend to honor your offer with payment.
All items are sold "As Is". We do our best to describe
all items accurately. However, mistakes and oversights can occur. Returns will
be accepted within 14 days if item is found to be not as described. In general
refunds will be given as money back and will include the original offer amount
and initial shipping costs (but not the return shipping cost). Refunds will be
given once the item is received and verified to be in the same condition as
when it was sold.
's shipping calculator should show the correct shipping
charges. We charge only the actual postage/insurance costs incurred.
All items shipped are insured. Insurance is included in shipping costs. We do combine multiple purchases to save you on shipping costs.
If you win more than one of our items, contact us for revised and
reduced shipping costs. If you overpay for shipping, or if we
inadvertently overcharge you for shipping, we will refund the overage.
(If we underestimate the shipping costs, which occasionally happens, we absorb
the additional costs). We ship using the United State Postal Service and
wrap our items as securely as we can.
Information for International Buyers
International buyers not using Paypal, please use a form of payment
denominated in U.S. dollars. We generally ship items internationally
using either the United States Postal Services "Global Priority Mail" or
"First Class International" mail, depending on the size and value of the
shipment. If we can ship the item for less than the quoted shipping
price, we will notify you and refund any overpayment. We mark
international shipments as "antique" (when the item is in fact an antique)
since most countries do not levy import tariffs on antique items.
duties, taxes, and charges are not included in the item price or shipping
cost.These charges are the buyer's responsibility. Please check with your
country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be
prior to offerding or buying. Please also note that the receiving
country's Custom Service may cause delays in item's arrival.
Interested in learning more about miniature lamps? Want to meet other
miniature lamp collectors? Contact and we'll get you information about
joining the Night Light Club.