| History of the Aladdin Mantle Lamp
Over 90 years ago, a very small boy on a rural Nebraska farm read and re-read the Arabian Nights story of Aladdin in a room of darkness but for the flickering yellow light of an open flame “coal oil lamp”. Several years later, that boy, grown to manhood, found a lamp that erased darkness with a soft white light. It was only natural that he named the lamp “Aladdin”. An appropriate name, indeed, for this revolutionary boon to rural American seemed nothing short of magical in the intensity of its light.
In 1915, the Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company introduced its Model # 6, and it earned a gold metal and a blue ribbon at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California. They boldly proclaimed the Aladdin as the best kerosene lamp in the world. An offer of $1,000.00 was made for any oil-burning lamp that could equal the Aladdin in twenty-six important features. To this day, the offer has not been collected.
Improvements were made in the Aladdin burner in the early 1930’s, when Aladdin figured out how to eliminate to center draft tube and use a side draft burner. This also made it possible to produce glass lamps. In 1933, Aladdin introduced it’s Model A side draft burner and 4 glass styles. The Model B (considered by many to be the best burner made by Aladdin) was introduced a few years later. A large selection of glass lamps followed. The Model B was followed by the models C, 21, 21C, & 23. The Model 23 is the current model. In the last few years, Aladdin has been styling their new lamps after older models. The new Deluxe Brass series are similar to the Model 6. The Grand Vertique series made by Fenton Glass, is made from the original Vertique mold. The Short Lincoln Drape lamp was designed by Eugene Schwartz in 1939, it is still one of the most popular Aladdin lamps. Many shades have been designed after older shades. All of the new shades are somewhat different in their design, so reproductions can not be sold as originals.
For those who lit the lamp, trimmed its wick, and cleaned its chimney, or just enjoyed its friendly glow, the Aladdin recalls many memories of golden childhood. It made learning possible for many boys and girls; and made it possible for the to acquire knowledge the helped them realize their dreams and aspirations.
Later, Aladdin brought this white light to every kind of habitat in every corner of the globe. For many, it has been the only light of their entire life. Even when electricity comes, there are a loyal few who profess to use the electric light only “to find the match” to light their Aladdin.
If you would like to learn more about the Aladdin lamp, we suggest reading “Aladdin, The Magic Name in Lamps” by Dr. J.W. Courter, “Aladdin Collector’s Manual & Price Guide” also by Dr. J.W. Courter. There is also an Aladdin collector’s group, the Aladdin Knights of the Mystic Light. The Aladdin Knights publish a bi-monthly newsletter, “The Mystic Light” and hold an annual Gathering (meeting) complete with seminars, live and silent auctions, and a two-day antique lamp and light show and sale. This year’s Gathering will be held in Paducah, Kentucky on the last weekend in July. For more information on the Aladdin Knights, please visit their website: www.aladdinknights.org