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Antiques > lamps urn shape November 26, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Antiques.

Grease, candles, whale oil and other burning fluids were used for light before the 1850s. Then Samuel Kier of Pittsburgh made lamps that burned kerosene, which was distilled from oil found on the ground.

In 1859, Col. Edwin Drake drilled underground and found oil in Pennsylvania, and kerosene became an inexpensive light source. Special kerosene burners were used, sometimes in old lamps that were converted.

The urn shape required to hold the liquid kerosene has been a popular lamp shape ever since, even though electric lamps, invented in 1879, no longer need kerosene.

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