Flickering Lights & Fairy Lamps: Collectibles for the Season

A few years ago, I learned about one such treasure, the fairy lamp – a collectible that fits right into the season.

fairy light

Fairy light from PriceIt! Antiques & Collectibles

Long ago in the days before we could tell Alexa to turn on our light bulbs, people lit up their homes with candles and oil lamps; throughout history, the fires they caused were a huge problem.

In the mid-1800s George Miller Clarke, the owner of a candle factory, came up with the idea of a setting a pretty glass dome with a hole on the top on a base that would hold a candle.

Clarke thought these little lamps were a clever way to sell his candles, but his invention turned out to be a safety device as well.

They came to be known as “fairy lights” or “fairy lamps” because of a little embossed fairy on the bottom of the early designs.

Queen Victoria is said to have purchased 1,500 of them for her personal use.

People at the time were apt to copy anything she did and the lights soon took off. They quickly spread to America, where several glass companies manufactured them for decades.

Some are now collectible items.

And consult the database PriceIt! Antiques & Collectibles for the current value of any collectible you might be thinking about buying or selling. Available in the library and from home to Des Plaines cardholders.

To read more about fairy lights and other collectibles, check out these titles in our collection:
Fenton art glass : fairy lamps & lights

Fenton art glass : fairy lamps & lights 

by Peggy Whiteneck

Read about the history and production of fairy lamps from Victorian times and see beautiful examples of Fenton's creations. 

Kovels' antiques & collectibles price list

Kovels' antiques & collectibles price list 2019 

by Terry Kovel & Kim Kovel

This is a good general guide, updated yearly for current prices. It includes a section on "what's hot & what's not in antiques & collectibles."

Warman's Antiques & Collectibles

Warman's Antiques & Collectibles 2019 

by Noah Fleisher 

This guide offers histories and identification guides to many of the collectibles it features.It also provides current prices.

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