Pair of Original Ships 'Onion' Lamps They are an impressive size standing 22" tall including the extended handle (56 cm) and the diameter measured around the cage is about 13" (33cm). Fine examples of the type. A matched pair in totally original condition. Generally referred to as 'onion lamps' for the very obvious similarity with the shape of the vegetable, these were used for a variety of functions on board ship. Those with clear glass were used below decks for cabin lighting or above deck as anchor lamps whilst examples with coloured glass, as here, were used as navigation lamps strung from the rigging. The wire cage surrounding the globes provided a useful function of protecting the glass from damage by sails of flapping cordage. Whist the history of this pair is now lost we believe they are probably of European and perhaps French or German origin. We surmise this as the original oil burners are still fitted; one is marked 'Reform-Rund Brenner' which was a German manufacturer base in Berlin whilst the other burner is stamped 'Unis, Paris, France'. Interestingly both the globes have been etched with code numbers 'R*49654' and 'R*49655' which may have identified them to the vessel they served on. The lamps are made from galvanised metal finished in gold paint and come complete with suspension loops. It is nice to find a set of original lamps that have the burners with them but it would be a simple job to wire them up for electricity and without the need to damage them by drilling, which sadly has happened on many of the lamps we see. Interestingly one lamp is stamped into the metal 'T49654' whist the other is marked 'T49655' so no doubt they came out of the factory at the same time and have always remained together and as a result we prefer to sell as a near matched pair rather than selling individually. Great original pieces. No major damage, a few dints and marks commensurate with age.
This exceptional item will make a great display piece for nautical decor.
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