Saturday, May 04, 2013

Astral Lamps

I was actually up early this morning, so that I could walk to a few nearby yard sales (first ones of the year for me!) I only went to 4, but I didn't walk away empty handed.

I actually found these little gems at an unlikely yard sale. I know this guy as "the DVD guy". He's an older guy who goes to yard sales and then re-sells items at his own yard sale. He mainly has a large selection of DVDs, and also antiques (mainly knick-knacks and dishes), but I found the lamps there.

These are older reproduction "Astral" style lamps. I'd guess that they're from the 1930s or 1940s. Around that time there was a revival of older styled items (like electrified versions of whale oil lamps as another example).

They caught my eye because of the cut glass shades, and the pierced brass rim (which would hold drop crystals/prisms). I really love early lighting (oil lamps, whale oil lamps, candle sticks, etc) so I got the pair for 14$.

The bases are marble, and they are fitted with a small turn switch. What's also fun about these, is that they have antique cloth cords and button plugs, but these almost look new (or perhaps the lamps weren't used for most of their lives).

They're in excellent shape. The shades have no chips or cracks. The only drawback is that the prisms are missing, and I know they're still available new as replacements, but unfortunately they're around 5-60$ each and I need 16 of them. I'll keep my eyes out for some used ones, but I may leave them as-is.

I will probably use these on my night stands.

These lamps are made to resemble early oil lamps from the early 1800s, like the ones below.

This is a similar style, but different type of lamp, known as an Argand Lamp. These are usually used in pairs, and some versions have 2 arms (T shape). Argand Lamps date as far back as 1780.


  1. Very interesting. I love how detailed your posts are! I happened to find these today and wouldn't have given them a second look except that I had read this article a couple days ago. Any insight? Should I buy them?

    1. Hi Jason,

      It's up to you weather or not to get them. If you like them, and the price is right, then go for it.

      My commentary on them:
      The shades are nice, but I'm not a fan of the way they attach to the light sockets (it looks a bit less refined this way). The lamps you posted look like they are from the 40s or 50s, or perhaps even later. The discolouration on the drops and the fact that they are one-piece makes me think that they might be plastic (it's hard to tell from a photo). Other than that, they look to be fairly well made, with pressed glass bodies and brass connection points.