This tiny alcohol lamp dates from around 1880 - 1900. It is in extremely nice condition and complete with wick and even its original cap cover! Molded of rich cobalt blue glass, with rounded shoulders changing to a triangular design over a square base, it is an attention getter.
On the base is cast PAT JUNE 26 1883 in raised letters. There is no manufacturer marking, but we guarantee it is old and authentic.
Lamps of this type burned alcohol, which produces a low, constant heat. Their primary purpose was for use in wax sealing letters and documents, hence they were popular with business and government officials. Wax sealing was a security tool, used to prevent tampering, much as tamper-evident self-sealing envelopes are used today.
The Magistrate or Wax Seal Official would add a drop of colored wax on an envelope flap or document and hold it over the small flame for just a moment to soften the wax, so it would easily take an impression when stamped with his Official Wax Seal.
We understand that this style of lamp may also be referred to as a Jeweler's Torch, because many jewelers utilized them for intricate, highly detailed soldering of gold or silver. However, a true jeweler's torch, specifically designed for jewelry artisans, has a round reservoir that pivots inside an adjustable round metal scoop.
CONDITION: The glass is exceptional. There are NO cracks, chips, splits or even bumped corners on this little gem. (There are some light scuffs on the bottom corners from use, but NOTHING WORSE, as can be seen in the photos.)
The brass collar is in fine condition with undamaged threads. The burner, also brass, screws easily on and off (also with undamaged threads). A decorative design is molded into the top of the burner and there is a small hole in the top, the only real "damage" on the lamp (SEE PHOTOS).
The wick is held by a long tube, which has split sides to tightly hold the cap cover. As can be seen, there is plenty of old wick present.
We have thoroughly enjoyed having this tiny treasure grace our mantel for several years, and are now hoping to find a new owner who will appreciate it.
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