Kerosene lamps hold a place in many hearts as they provided light in homes before electricity arrived. For over 100 years Aladdin lamps in particular have been filling homes with their bright light. These lamps feature a unique incandescent tubular mantle that makes their light much brighter than other kerosene lamps. Older Aladdin lamps have become collectors items. The photos below are from the 2013 Lamp Show of the National Association of Aladdin Lamp Collectors in Topeka, Kan. The pictures illustrate the wide range of styles and shades that were popular during the early 1900s. Today, Aladdin lamps remain an excellent choice for emergency lighting, or simply to provide softer, old-fashioned lighting in your home.
Victor S. Johnson was the man responsible for bringing the Aladdin non-electric lamps to homes across the country and the world. Johnson sold his first Aladdin lamp in 1909 and their popularity took off from there. These unique kerosene lamps were especially helpful to those families without electricity, although the lamps were equally appreciated by city dwellers.
Today's Aladdin lamps are a result of several centuries of development. "Air lamps" were invented and patented by Ami Argand in 1784 where a center draft of air inside a tubular wick kept the lamp lit. A vast improvement on this lamp was made by Dr. Auer von Welsbach in 1885 when he created the incandescent gas mantle. In the 1900s after the U.S. learned of incandescent lamps from Germany, Aladdin lamps quickly became the world-wide leader with their blue flame that heats the mantel which emits the bright, white light of 60 candlepower (equivalent to 60 candles).
Source: History of Aladdin Lamps, by J.S. Courter
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