How to Identify Vintage Lamps September 18 2022

how to identify vintage lamps

Vintage lamps add a unique ambiance and aesthetic appeal to any room. Whether you want to add a vintage lamp to your home or office, are looking for a vintage lamp identification chart to learn how to identify mid-century lamps, or assess a family heirloom, here are a few tips you can use to help you through the process. 

Identify the Lamp Maker

An older lamp may be paired with a lampshade that is not original, but you can still examine the lamp to look for signs of its age and maker. Determining the lamp's maker is one of the most important aspects of identifying and valuing antique lamps. Prestigious companies typically have their logo on them. You can look for a manufacturer's name, symbol, or date stamp on the lamp's base. If there is a felt covering, you may need to lift it, and you may need to use a magnifying glass, but you should be able to find writing or drawings on the base of the lamp. If the base of the lamp is covered with dust, carefully use a soft cloth and gentle cleaning solution to clean it. This vintage lamp manufacturers list will help you identify some of the top brands of lamp makers: 

  • Handel Company
  • Tiffany Studios
  • Duffner and Kimberly
  • Dirk Van Erp Studio
  • Edward Miller and Company

Even if you cannot quickly identify the lamp's maker, there are other ways to determine if a lamp is vintage. 

Identify the Style of Your Lamp 

Take a look at the shape and style of your lamp. Is the lamp an art deco lamp, an art nouveau lamp, a student lamp, a hurricane lamp, or another distinct style? If you can identify the style of your lamp, it can help you narrow down the manufacturer and the general era in which it was made. Lamp manufacturers often use their own details, such as shapes, carvings, or custom colors, to make their lamps unique. 

Look at the Cord and Plug

The plug of older lamps had prongs that were the same size, whereas modern plugs have prongs that are different sizes. Exposed wires or screws are other indicators of an antique cord. Fabric or cotton-covered cords are another sign of an older lamp. While an old cord is a good indicator of an antique lamp, it's important to remember that the cord could have been replaced at some point.

Examine Decals and Signs of Aging

Are there designs on your lamp? If they look and feel smooth and consistent, it was likely machine painted. Brush strokes, however, are an indication that the lamp was hand-painted. If the metal is shiny, the glass is pristine, and the lamp generally looks newer overall, it might be a reproduction. Vintage lamps will show typical signs of aging, such as patina on the metal, discoloration, or cracks in the glass. 

Ask an Expert

If you have a lamp in your possession but are struggling to make an identification, you may consider searching for a lamp collectors group, taking it to a lamp repair shop, or to an antique dealer. Avid collectors and experts can give you an option on your antique lamps age and value.

When you are searching for vintage lamps to create the perfect vibe in your home or office, Urban Americana has you covered. With a unique variety of vintage and table floor lamps, you're sure to find the perfect lighting for any room! Contact us to learn more about how to transform your space with vintage furniture and home decor.

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