Some Interesting Lamps – February 1895

This week in 1889 Thomas Edison was issued a patent for an Incandescent Electric Lamp. In only a few short years lamps based on this new technology were all the rage.

Six years later the editors of The Christian Recorder in our African American Newspapers Collection provided its readers with a glimpse of the new lamps appearing in stores.

Very Many Incandescent Lights That Are Real Wonders.

Electric lamps are made of all sizes, from 100 candle power and over down to one-half candle, but the small ones are decidedly the most interesting and picturesque. At a large factory there is a special department devoted to decorative and miniature lamps of all shapes and colors, curious and beautiful. There are “candelabra” lamps, much used for lighting private residences, and which are generally ten candle power. Some of them are poor shaped, while others are long and tapering and of an extremely graceful form. They are often fitted to receptacles concealed in imitation candles, and while they have all the warmth and elegance of the old fashioned wax tapers they give a far steadier and brighter light. One of the most striking styles is the “flame” lamp, which is a narrow cone of glass, twisted spirally and frosted. It has the beauties of a brightly burning flame, with none of the drawbacks.

Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison

There is the eight candle power “kinetoscope” lamp, which illuminates the photographs on the rapidly moving celluloid strip in Edison’s remarkable picture gallery. A one candle power lamp is used for night work in telephone exchanges. One is placed in each panel of the switchboard and lights up whenever a call comes to its territory and stays lighted until the call is answered, so that one or two operators can easily manage all the night business wherever it is not very heavy.

Many varieties of lamps are arranged to take their current from batteries. Among these is the one candle power miner’s lamp, of a fiat shape, with metal loops at top and bottom, so that it can be hooked upon springs in the miner’s lantern and held steady. The lamp and the battery together are not heavy. Then there are bicycle lamps, microscope lamps, and lamps for medical and dental work. Some of the lamps used for illuminating the interior of the mouth, throat and nose are extremely small, generally cylindrical in shape, a quarter inch or less in diameter and from half an inch to an inch long. But the tiniest of all is the “pea” lamp, a glass sphere one-quarter of an inch in diameter.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: February 28, 1895
Title: Some Interesting Lamps
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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