Q. My pressed glass oil lamp belonged to my grandmother. I was told the lamp is at least 100 years old. It is 22 inches tall, including the glass chimney. The leaf-pattern font lifts off the scalloped ring, and the base under the pillars is hollow. Several of my friends collect oil lamps and have never seen one like mine. Have you?


A. Your lamp has been nicknamed the "Applesauce" lamp because of its hollow base. When you remove the chimney and font and turn the pillared base over, you have transformed the lamp into an elevated serving bowl sometimes used for applesauce. Originally the lamp also included a small handleless cup that sat upside-down in the center of the pillars. It could be removed and used as a match-holder. Another version of the Applesauce lamp has a plain glass font and a larger engraved and frosted chimney. Patents on the lamp were issued in 1882 and 1883, probably in the United States or Canada. An Applesauce lamp with an original font, but missing the cup, burner, and chimney, auctioned in 2000 for $600.

The auctioned lamp was sold by Green Valley Auctions Inc., 2259 Green Valley Lane, Mt. Crawford, VA 22841. Additional information about the Applesauce lamp and other oil lamps can be found in Oil Lamps: The Kerosene Era in North America by Catherine M.V. Thuro (Collector Books, Paducah, KY, c1998).

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