History of Hurricane Lamps

Hurricane lamps history article by Jim Hoyle

Neither high winds or hurricanes could snuff out this popular lamp style.

The hurricane lamp was originally an oil burning lamp with a glass chimney designed to protect the flame from drafts or winds. Today, all that has changed. These oil burning lamps are still very popular not only for their aesthetic value but because of their basic practical use especially during periods of power outages or anywhere that has no electricity, such as cabins, camping, etc.

Today this style can be any lamp or even a candle including an electric lamp where the flame or light bulb is protected or enclosed by a glass chimney. The electric model does not need the glass chimney for functionality but lamp manufacturers often include this feature as it is more authentic.

Glass chimneys today come in a wide assortment of sizes, shapes, frostings or clear, etchings and decorations as well as colors.

In addition to the glass chimney, many have an additional decorative glass top which surrounds the glass chimney. These glass tops come in many sizes, shapes and colors. One very striking and popular type of hurricane lamp has matching bottom and top glass pieces which are intricately hand decorated with a clear glass chimney projecting through the top several inches. The popular "Gone With The Wind Lamp", named after the Academy Award winning movie is one type and it utilizes the glass chimney enclosure as well as the additional decorative glass top which is often hand painted.

Authentic antique hurricane lamps are highly sought after and very collectible. They commonly bring prices that range into the many hundreds of dollars and up.

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