Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Student lamp

Desk lamp of metal, usually brass, having a tubular shaft and either one or two arms. Shades are of opaque glass usually in dark green or white.

A desk reading lamp with a tubular shaft, one or two arms for a shaded light, and originally an oil reservoir (font)

Some feature shade and burner that can be raised or lowered and also swivels 360 degrees.

Emeralite Co made shades.

Modern definition: a reading lamp with a flexible neck; used on a desk

Excerpts from "Student Lamps" on

The Student Lamp was a lamp popular in the late 1800s in both single and double burner models. Its claim to fame was that it cast little to no "undershadow."

It was mounted on a vertical post and the lamp itself was on a swing arm.

The oil font is to the side of the vertical post and the oil is siphoned to the lamp where it is burned.

The Manhattan Student Lamp, manufactured by the Manhattan Brass Co., was one of the most popular and least expensive lamps in its day. It is easily found in various antique stores.

Richard Miller and John Solverson point out in their book "Student Lamps of the Victorian ERA" these lamps were known in Europe as "Reading Lamps" and in England as the "Queen's Reading Lamp."

The lamps were generally 7" and 10" and came in both single and double lamps. One of my Miller Student lamps has duplex burners on it. It was felt in those days that if you had two wicks in the burner you increased the amount of light and to some degree that apparently was true.

Another major manufacturer of Student Lamps in this period was Wilde & Wessel of Germany. This lamp is very similar to the Harvard Lamp made by Plume & Atwood. The body of the lamp is a very intricate brass casting and the burner was a special Kosmos burner.

Illustration above: Lang Collection

Photos and their arrangement 2008 Chuck LaChiusa
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