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Antique, 20th Century, Kerosene Bicycle Lamp from 1898
This vintage bicycle lamp was made in the United States in the late 1800's by the 20th Century Mfg.Co. as indicated on the back. It is also marked Twentieth Century on the removable vent on the top. There are many different variations of 20th Century kerosene lamps. This one has a 1895 U.S. patent on the bottom as well as 1897 & 1898 patents for other countries. It is mostly made of nickeled brass but the lens frame and the reflector compartment are aluminum. The front of the convex lens is embossed; 20TH CENTURY across the top. There are side glass pieces, one side is red and the other side is green. These are stationary and do not open.
The lens door is hinged on the right with a spring clip on the left to close it tightly. Opening the lens door allows the wick to be lit. The knob on the right of the base adjusts the wick up and down. To fill the kerosene you have to remove the bottom which is the reservoir. This is done by sliding the lever on the back, away from the wick knob, this releases the bottom. The wick holder turns and then lifts out. Both the reservoir and the wick holder are marked; Front.
This particular lamp has a bail which folds up so it can be carried when it is not clamped to a bicycle. It has stationary posts and wing nut on the back but it does not come with a mounting bracket for the bicycle.
The lamp is approximately 5 1/2" tall with the bail down and is in very nice original condition. There is minimal loss of plating, you can see a slight amount of brass showing through on the top vent. Otherwise the plating has minimal discoloration. The aluminum parts are also good with minimal wear or discoloration. The steel bail and the bracket on the back have some pitting and darkness of color. Overall it is a very nice, original lamp with the exception of the wick and the reservoir cotton which are replaced.
The pictures are not shown at actual size. Please refer to the description for actual measurements.
Don't forget to check out the other antique and collectible bicycle lamps, accessories and advertising items in our shop!
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Debra and Robert Helton, Eagle, ID
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