Q: I found this oil lamp on a shelf inside an old walk-in bank safe that dates back to 1900 or earlier. I’ve had the lamp for over 50 years and am interested in its value. It’s in perfect condition and is about 19 inches tall. The knob is embossed “The Solar, E.M. & Co.”
Q: The initials “E.M. & Co.” are a mark used by Edward Miller & Co., a lamp manufacturer in Meriden, Connecticut. Miller started making burners for lamps in the 1840s. He started Edward Miller & Co. in 1866. The company made several styles of lamps as well as burners, collars and lamp parts for other lamp manufacturers. Solar lamps used lard for fuel. The Miller mark on the burner knob does not necessarily mean the lamp was made by Miller. If Edward Miller & Co. made the lamp, it will be marked on the font. This type of lamp is less popular than it was in the 1950s, when some were electrified. If not electrified, it isn’t used as a light source, just as a decorative item and might sell for $100 to $200. The decorated glass shade and font add to the value.