© Tsekyi Thür

Lamps of Unknown Origin

There are many lamps in my collection whose country of origin cannot be found out for sure despite all efforts. Especially German lamp manufacturers have not marked their lamps or lamp parts in a special way, so that for many lamps it remains a vague assumption that they might have come from Germany, but a corroborating hint is completely missing.

With the lamps from other countries, it is easier for me to make a country-specific classification because the main features of the lamps from these countries are easily distinguishable. Nevertheless, even with these lamps, a last doubt remains here and there as to whether the classification is correct.

There are lamps that have a lamp part, usually the vase, that comes from a well-known manufacture of one country, but the lamp itself comes from another country. Examples of this from my collection:

L.124 has a ceramic vase by Gien from France, and a Duplex burner from the UK, but is a properly American lamp, proven by a paper label inside.

L.364 has a vase by the British glass manufacturer Thomas Webb, but is American with the remaining lamp parts.

The large lamp L.314 with Delft motifs is made of ceramic parts by Empire Porcelain Company of Great Britain, but is certainly identifiable as an American central air draft lamp, as the upper, small vase is specifically designed for the American 5 inch brass fonts.

The lamp L.305, also painted with Delft motifs, is also fitted for export to the USA, as the font collar is a typical USA #3 collar, but is itself made by the French manufacture Fourmaintraux Frères. I have assigned this lamp to French lamps.

A similar case exists with the lamp L.160 with the ceramic body from Faïencerie de Wasmuël in Belgium. The lamp body is from Belgium, but the lamp itself could very well be a French lamp. I have nevertheless described it among the Belgian lamps.

Then there are lamps that have all the attributes of a lamp manufacturer, but their trademark not at all. Here are some examples:

The lamp L.287 could very well be by Wild & Wessel. The black glass vase with its very accurately executed, elongated sliced cuts, the very characteristic handles and the brass ring at the top with the fine vertical ribs speak for this. A cheaper version of this lamp appears in the 1875 catalogue of Zimmermann, London. Was this lamp commissioned by Zimmermann? Is it an independent creation of this British company with parts from Wild & Wessel? I have classified it among the lamps of unknown origin.

A very similar case lies with the magnificent lamp L.204, which also bears no sign of R. Ditmar, but the central female figure is clearly by R. Ditmar (see the explanation at the fact sheet of the lamp). I have taken the liberty of calling this lamp an R. Ditmar lamp.

The large L.230 lamp is either French or Belgian, because "Breveté S.G.D.G." is inscribed on the font. This abbreviation for "Sans Garantie Du Gouvernement" is only found in these two countries. But so far no collector I know has seen the unique burner of this lamp. So it remains unknown.

The lamp L.276 is another case of mystery. The base and the vase with the handles appear on two different lamps by the London firm Silber & Fleming. The lamp came to me from France. And the handles are identical in their upper part to handles on a lamp by R. Ditmar! You can now think about where this lamp may have come from. For photos, see the fact sheet.

You can extend this list with some more lamps. The examples given above already show convincingly the difficulties that can arise in assigning a lamp to a certain country of manufacture.

Of my 365 lamps, 60 cannot be assigned to a country; they are lamps of unknown origin, although in the case of some of these lamps there is already a certain suspicion as to where they might come from. I suspect that a not inconsiderable number of them come from Germany.

I have divided these lamps into 4 sub-chapters:
1. Lamps with zinc castings
2. Lamps made of glass and majolica
3. Lamps made of other materials
4. Hanging lamps