Glass Student Shades are a favorite style of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the early 1800’s, candles and oil lamps were the primary source of light. Oil lamps produced marginal light from a burning wick, inside a glass chimney. The development of glass student shades improved light output thereby improving the quality of life for many Americans. The shape of these shades focused light downward for tasks. The glass student shades glowed when lit, producing a much larger light, than was previously available with a burning wick. Better light at night made dark night’s bearable and increased productivity. It was now possible to read and do hand-work at night. Rooms were brighter making evening activities possible. This dramatic change encouraged the lighting industry to seek advances in lighting.
19th century oil lamps were made of brass, glass or nickel. Central to these lamps were oil burners. As time went on many of these oil burners were replaced with electric burners or converted to electricity. Glass chimneys, used to control drafts and protect flame, resided on top of burner and were held in place with tines. Tripods or spiders and shade rings were then positioned on burners to hold glass student shades.
Lamp Shade Rings
Glass Student Shades, a much-enjoyed antique style, were originally used on student lamps and oil lamps. Made of glass, in various bottom diameters, with 10” and 7” being the most common sizes. Shades are measured across bottom. These glass shades are blown in a mold which causes slight differences in thickness of glass and actual bottom diameters. The bottom diameter, referred to as the fitter, is typically slightly under-size, this is normal due to glass blowing techniques.
Measure shade holder, if available, to determine sized needed. If lamp will need both holder and shade: 9” – 10” lamp bases typically use 10” student shades while smaller 8”-9” bases often use 7” shades.
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