needs to collect something. Collecting seems to be a dominant
human gene. My collector gene has lead me to collect Aladdin and other brands of non-pressurized
kerosene mantle lamps. The evolution of these lamps represent the peak of kerosene lighting technology. The lamps reflect American society, manufacturing technology and entrepreneurial spirit in the beginning of the 1900's. The startup costs were minimal when it comes to purchasing burners imported from Germany and placing them on brass lamp bodies manufactured in the US.
Much of America was rural at the turn of the century and in the days before TV and internet ads marketing and sales into rural America were largely through independent sales representatives going door to door with salesman cases demonstrating their wares. These lamps don't just stand alone if you are willing to look beyond them to their place in society. If you look closely you will see the fabric of the first half of the 1900's reflected in their their design, the entrepreneurs who sold and marketed the lamps and the homes that were lit by them.
Most of this web site is dedicated to the Aladdin brand of lamps. Aladdin was and is still the most successful brand of non-pressurized kerosene mantle lamp. They did not achieve this success because they had the best lamp design but because they had a good product and leading edge marketing. It was a combination of ongoing innovation in both their products and marketing that allowed them to dominate the mantle lamp market.
The hobby of collecting these lamps can be as rich as you want it to be. You might collect lamps for the hunt and display of the lamps or you might use them to better understand the evolution of kerosene lighting and lamp manufacturing technology. Or you might see them as part of the fabric of the rapid changes made during the first half of the 1900's. As physical talismans to help you better understand the changes occurring during those years. Whatever your interest in these lamps I hope you find something of use in this web site.
Much of the information in this web site is based upon the
research and contributions of others as well as those of
my own. I intend this site to to be an illustrated
supplement reference that fills in some gaps not well covered
in other published works. It is not intended to parrot
previously published works nor to replace them. In
If you have an interest in Aladdin kerosene lamps THE essential
book to own is "Aladdin The Magic Name in Lamps" by
J. W. Courter, ISBN 0-9618879-2-3. This is a MUST
HAVE book on Aladdin lamps that is well researched and well written. Bill's book is primarily focused on Aladdin lamps marketed within the United States and Canada.
If your interests leads you to Aladdin lamps sold in Australia the essential reference book is Allin Hodson's "Aladdin Kerosene Lamps in Australia" , ISBN 0646377558. Printed by Hyde Park Press in Australia. Lamps produced by Aladdin Australia are unique in their design and shows the practical Australian approaches to meeting the needs of the people who used the lamps.
If your collecting interests leads you to the early evolution of kerosene mantle burners, the place to look is Germany where mantle lamps were invented and the book to purchase is called "The Evolution of the Kerosene Mantle Burner" by Anton Kaim. This is a self published book sold directly by the author and does a very good job of covering the inception and comparative evolution of the mantle burner, most of which took place in Europe. This book an excellent reference for burner and parts identification. This book covers the Burners developed in Europe, German burners imported to North America and Aladdin brand burners.
Like every good collectible, there is a club for Aladdin
lamp enthusiasts called the "Aladdin
Knights". They have a newsletter that can contain
research results not published in Courter's book. They also
have gatherings which provides opportunities to actually
see rare models.