History of Motion Lamps of The Early 1900's

Motion lamps article by Jim Hoyle

Motion lamp of Niagara Falls and Victorian couple
Niagara Falls motion lamp with Victorian couple
Very fine quality vintage early 1900
Cast metal is embossed in great detail with rich bronze antique copper finish
Works perfectly, all original components are present and in great condition
9" high x 12" wide x 4.5" deep

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A very interesting lamp !

Can you believe that motion lamps originated as far back as circa 1930 and became extremely popular during the 1950's when TV lamps were in high demand. The shade was a drum style made with a louvered or fan blade top so that the heat from the bulb rising through the top louvers would slowly turn the shade. Some models had a translucent painted scene on an exterior shell which did not move and the moving painted or striated drum on the inside would imply motion to the painted scene. Popular themes were moving water scenes, rivers, Niagara Falls and a little boy peeing, ha!

I have a heavy metal Niagara Falls lamp from around 1930 that is absolutely awesome especially in a darkened room. It is made like a very decorative 3 dimensional metal picture frame on an ornate stand. There is no shade but where the picture would be is the Niagara Falls scene and it looks like the falls are in motion.

You can occasionally find one of these at an antique store or a flea market. It is very difficult to find one that works properly because many of the parts are easily lost or broken. You may also find one listed for sale on EBay. The nicer ones usually sell for many hundreds of dollars.

Motion lamps are still being made today but unfortunately they are very cheap novelty models made in China and not something your grand children will be enjoying.

I hope you find this information useful. It is always a pleasure to provide information about antique lamps. Thanks and Best Regards, Jim Hoyle

I also locate special antique motion lamps for customers and I can be contacted through this website.