Posted on

New Resource on Kerosene Mantle Lamp Burners

The Evolution of the Kerosene Mantle Burner, By Anton Kaim

Imperial Lighting Co. is pleased to announce a fantastic new resource for collectors and students of liquid fueled mantle lamp burners. In co-operation with the author we are proud to offer this unique and very important resource in our books and resources section at

Now, Lets meet the Author!

Anton Kaim and his wife Willemina J. Venema

Anton Kaim was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1948. After elementary school and technical training he joined shipyard ‘The Rotterdam Dry dock Company’ (RDM) in 1964 as a technician/serviceman. With an interruption of 16 months of military service, he worked there until June 1973.

In August of that year, he was admitted to the day course of the ‘The Dutch Association for the Training of Teachers for Technical Vocational Education’.
In just two years, he completed a three-year course with the diplomas in Mechanical Techniques, Technical Engineering and Pedagogy. In 1975 he was appointed as a teacher of Mechanical Engineering Courses at the 2nd Technical School on the Beukelsdijk in Rotterdam. A school for primary technical education.

In 1980 Anton married Willemina J. Venema. They have two children, Eline and Robert.
During a conversation in 1980 with his father-in-law, G. Venema, about hobbies and interests, i.e. technology and history, Mr. Venema took an old kerosene lamp from his shed, asking Anton if this was something he liked. This was certainly the case, but Anton’s questions such as: who designed it, made by whom, where and when made, could not be answered. Inquiries with others also yielded nothing.
But Anton’s interest in old lighting was piqued!

A search for answers was started which brought him to the ‘European Patent Office’ (EPO) in Rijswijk. This turned out to be a treasure trove, with thousands of books full of patents from all over the world.
After a search and with some luck, all those questions were answered. His father-in-laws lamp was designed, patented and manufactured in 1883 by the Belgian lamp company ‘Lempereur & Bernard’ (L&B) from Liège. It was improved by them in 1886 and Anton quickly discovered his lamp was the improved model from 1886!

More lamps and lanterns were collected in search of comparative material. The questions only increased! Also the visits to the ‘EPO’! There, interesting patents were copied on the spot for a fee then studied and selected at home.
In 1981 Anton received a beautiful brass harp lamp for his birthday from his wife, Willemina. The lamp’s reservoir said ‘Famos 120 cp. Foreign’. Apparently a lamp made in one country and sold in another. A lamp that also should give a very bright light, 120 cp. It did not! All questions that came up with this lamp where only answered in the course of a 25-year quest! After adding some missing parts, the lamp indeed gives a lot of light!
The maker was the German lamp company ‘Ehrich & Graetz’ from Berlin who developed this mantle lamp in 1928, commissioned by ‘Falk, Stadelmann & Co., Ltd.’ from London. The ‘Famos’ was produced under that name, exclusively for the British market.
In the meantime, a diligent search was being conducted for a book on the history of incandescent mantle burner lamps. It was not found, it did not exist!
During all those years many mantle burner patents were copied and studied. The Internet came and with this also contacts with people outside the Netherlands. The information from the patents found came in handy. Questions could be answered. Often those contacts themselves also yielded new and extremely useful information. The circle was complete!

Around 2007, Anton had collected so much mantle lamp information that he had the idea to make a book of it by himself. This plan was further elaborated after his retirement in early 2010. In 2013, the first edition was published in three languages: Dutch, English and German. At the end of 2019 the improved and extended version was ready and for sale.
Anton has created exactly the book he had been looking for so many years ago! Order yours today!

Posted on

Newest Aladdin Knight meets J. W. “Bill” Courter

As many of you know, we have been working hard on Imperial Lighting Co. (ILC) Website for several months. We’ve been adding products, categories, images, content and a lot of behind-the-scenes integration to make our user experiences great. Thankfully, we have a tremendously talented webmaster to handle all the heavy duty technical “stuff”. Meet Kevin Eggers, webmaster extraordinaire!

As part of an ongoing plan to promote awareness about the Aladdin Knights, The Mystic Light Newsletter, Aladdin Collecting and sharing of information, Kevin and I had the pleasure of spending some time with J. W. “Bill” Courter, The Bright Knight. During our recent visit with Bill, we presented a web-based delivery platform integrated into the Imperial Lighting Co. Website which presents the opportunity to offer digital access to a free trial to the Mystic Light Newsletter. Imperial Lighting Co. in cooperation with Bill Courter will be launching this free trial offer in August of 2019.

Kevin with his copy of Aladdin The Magic Name in Lamps signed by the Author, J.W. “Bill” Courter.

During our visit, we spent time talking about lamps, and the history of Aladdin. Bill eagerly showed us his extensive collection of Aladdin Lamps, including his very first Aladdin, a Green and White Moonstone Corinthian.

Kevin asked Bill to autograph his copy of Aladdin The Magic Name in Lamps and Bill signed-up Kevin as an Aladdin Knight of the Mystic Light. Kevin is the latest Aladdin Knight, #9578. Congratulations, Kevin! Congratulations Bill for adding another enthusiast to the group!

ILC thanks Kevin for taking our vision and turning it into a user-friendly digital format in our effort to advance collecting, making new friends and the sharing of reliable fact-based, historically accurate information. Great job, Kevin! We appreciate having you on our team.

Posted on

Aladdin Lamp B2301 Brass Heritage Lamp Discontinued

Aladdin B2301 Brass Heritage Lamp has been Discontinued

Brass Heritage Lamp B2301 with M741 Morning Glory Shade

June 2019 – Crownplace Brands (CPB) has Informed Authorized Aladdin Lamp Dealers of their plans to discontinue the Aladdin Brass Heritage Lamp, at least for now.

The venerable Brass Heritage Lamp has occupied a prominent space in the Aladdin Product line for decades. Originally styled after the model 12 table lamp of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, the crisp lines of the B2301 have made it a popular choice among consumers over many years. The highly polished brass and acrylic lacquer finish made the lamp visually appealing, durable, and easy to care for.

Ah, but all good things come to an end. With home décor skewing away from brass accents and more toward nickel and bronze finishes, maybe it is time for this old friend to have a break.

CPB indicates they will be focusing on some other Aladdin Lamp projects for now, with a focus on glass lamps in particular.

At the time of this writing, Imperial Lighting Co. Still has a few B2301 Aladdin Brass Heritage Table Lamps available in our inventory.

Posted on

Aladdin Oil Lamp Chimneys to be Discontinued

Aladdin Oil Lamp Chimneys R905 and R910 to be Discontinued.

R910 standard chimney on the left, R105 High Altitude chimney on the right.

June 2019 – Crownplace Brands (CPB) has advised Aladdin Lamp Dealers of their decision to discontinue some types of Aladdin Oil Lamp Chimneys.

With the introduction of the MAXbrite Burner and the MAXbrite series chimneys, CPB has elected to substitute the R905 Heel-less High Altitude Chimney and the R910 Heel-less chimney with similar MaxBrite Versions.

Citing duplicated inventory, it’s understandable CPB made this change. With only slight dimensional differences between the 900 series chimneys and the latest MaxBrite chimneys, this change will simplify inventory for the entire supply chain, make chimney selection easier for consumers, without sacrificing performance of lamps using the heel-less type chimney.

Aladdin Lox-on chimneys in both standard and high altitude versions are not affected by this change.

Posted on

Fake Finish and Colors of Aladdin Glass Lamps

Frosted Beehive (left) compared with normal clear B-80 clear crystal Beehive.

Unusual colors and frosted surfaces of Aladdin glass lamps have been seen, from time-to-time, over the past 40+ years.

I first wrote about “Fake Lamps” in 1973 in the second issue of the Mystic Light. Were they made by Aladdin and are they experimental rarities?

The frosted surface and fake colors have been applied to enhance clear glass lamps such as Washington Drapes and Beehive. These cannot be documented in Aladdin sales literature, catalogues and known records.

Therefore my first reaction is always—”No, this was not produced and sold by Aladdin.”

Frosted clear crystal Beehive B-80.

It is theoretically possible that such a lamp, or lamps, could be samples made by Aladdin—or for Aladdin with permission. Of course, Aladdin would have to provide the cast-iron mold. If a
new mold was made, the resulting lamp would be slightly smaller in size.

Frosted Lamps have a white satin-like finish resulting from submerging the font in an acid treatment. Usually the entire font is treated—inside the font and under the foot. Sometimes the
surface does not etch uniformly leaving a clear or blotched area.

Fake colors, usually red or blue, may be applied as paint, stain or flashing. The same reaction is—they cannot be documented in Aladdin sales literature, catalogues or known records. Hence—not an original lamp made by Aladdin.

To my knowledge all of Henry Hellmers’ glass colors were produced with coloring agents mixed into the glass batch in the Aladdin glasshouse.

How To Tell Fake Color

Painted colors may or may not be fused to the glass surface. We have heard of craft shop and motorcycle paints used to color lamps. These may be obvious by scratches or wear.

Flashed or stained colors may be created with a fusible glaze “applied to the glass. The glaze may be finely ground metallic oxide mixed with oil. After drying the glass is heated in a kiln to fuse the glaze.

True flashed color, however, is made by dipping the clear glass into a molten colored glass (red, blue, etc.) to apply a thin coating of color.

  • Look for runs, streaks or scratches in the applied finish color. Try to make your own scratch. Some of these finishes seem “perfect” to the eye and touch. To be bold use a buffing wheel with jewelers rouge to remove the surface color.
  • Inspect under the oil fill. Any color on the white cement? Or has the oil fill been replaced with glue?
  • Remove the burner and hold font up to strong light. Look in the burner opening through the thick glass stem or connection with foot. If fake the color of glass will disappear because it is clear glass
Henry Hellmers worked for Aladdin 1935-1942

Aladdin Glass

Henry Hellmers was hired to improve and create glass colors for Aladdin lamps. The company was changing from metal center-draft lamps (Model 12) to glass lamps that the company could make itself. Aladdin glass lamps were made of basic sodalime glass.

Glass lamps were more profitable as well as colorful and dominated the rural farm markets until well after the War.

Collectors observe differences in color intensity, shade and hue. For
example see the collection of Washingtom Drapes on the next page. These are all standard production made in different years, different tanks of glass and most of these were made after Hellmers left Aladdin.

Aladdin colored glass was commonly produced by adding metallic oxides into the glass batch. The following list gives resulting glass colors.

Aladdin glass was prepared in day tanks and large continuous tanks. Hellmers was aware of difference in glass color due to thickness of glass for blowing or pressing. His formulae accounted for those differences as well as kind, color and amount of cullet used. “If light in color add a few pounds of bone ash.” Aladdin had a definite order for transition from one batch to the next.
Unwanted residues could change the color of the following batch.

Hellmers listed one formula for an irridescent glass: “Golden Luster on Glass.” A solution of Cl2 and FeCL3 sprayed on glass surface, heated to 700 to produce a golden luster (p. 455 in Hellmers’ Batch Book).

Reference: Henry T. Hellmer’s Batch Book of Glass Formulae, Limited Edition, 2002, published by J. W. Courter.

Henry Hellmers was truly a glass chemist. He understood the interactions of sand, cullet, chemical ingredients, fire, heat, and manipulation of the batch in the glasshouse. Aladdin gave trade names to Hellmers glass: Moonstone, Velvex, Aladex, Alacite etc. More information about Aladdin Lamp Glass may be found in
my books and in Glass Collector’s Digest 2(1):34-42 published in 1988. They author would love to know of your unusual lamp colors.

Color variations of Aladdin Washington Drapes from the Aladdin factory glasshouse. Collection by Leon & Faye Todd in recent display room at National Aladdin Lamp Gathering.

Fake Colors of Aladdin Lamps

Red Painted B-53 Washington Drape, (left) Blue Painted B-39 Washington Drape, (center) Purple Stained B-80 Beehive. (right)
Look through the burner opening at a bright light. If the glass is clear you will see a clear, white center. If colored glass, the center will be the same color as the glass.

Red painted B-53 Washington Drape signed by Tim Hall (left) Scrape mark on red painted B-53 Washington Drape B-53 (right)

Tim Hall was said to use motorcycle or automotive paint to color clear glass Aladdin lamps. He signed many on the inside bottom rim. You can scrape coloring paint from the clear glass. See image.

More Fake Colors / Finish of Aladdin Glass Lamps

Purple or Blue Stained B-103 Corinthian (left) Purple Stained B-80 Beehive (center) Frosted Amber Bell Stem Washington Drape (right)

Light blue Washington drape B-53 that is light blue glass, unless it was stained or flashed. This lamp definitely a fooler. The bowl seems to have been given an iridescent treatment, not as evident on the foot. The oil fill was replaced with glue.

Looking through the burner opening the verdict is questionable. We would expect a more pronounced brighter, white center, rather than mostly pale blue.

White B-53? Washington drape

White Washington Drape

In the early 1950’s Aladdin was selling aluminum font lamps. The company was closing the Alexandria, Indiana factory. It has been reported that Aladdin sent a mold to Dunbar Glass in West Virginia to make glass lamps. Is this an example?

The story about the white Washington drape has not been written. Dunbar Glass closed in 1953. Very few white Washington Drapes have been found.

Fake White Beehive

Painted White Beehive bought couple years ago. Painted (inside & outside) possibly by Tim Hall. The true white Beehive was made of white moonstone by Aladdin; but was not catalogued or assigned a sales number. Rare. Few are found, but there are some 8-9 known.

Appreciation: Thanks to collectors who helped with this story about fake color of Aladdin Lamps. Russ Benard, Missy Hicks, Bob Martin. Bob & Patricia Sine, Robert Sunberg, Randy Talley, Brenda Cordeiro and Barbara Worden.

Copyright © 2019 by J. W. Courter. J. W. Courter is professor emeritus, University of Illinois. His avocation is collecting and studying oil lamps. He writes and publishes books about Aladdin Lamps.

Posted on

Aladdin Lamps are “Wireless”

Worlds Finest Non-Electric Lamp

Excerpts from 1930s advertising brochures—The Aladdin Mantle Lamp is one of the greatest and most practical inventions of the century. It is an outstanding achievement of science in connection with artificial lighting. It has gone a long, long way toward solving the lighting problem for rural homes, with its abundance of soft, mellow, modern, white light. Aladdin light makes evening reading, writing or sewing a pleasure.

The Aladdin is simple—anyone can operate it. It lights and is put out just like the ordinary kerosene wick lamp. It costs very little to operate. It burns common kerosene (coal oil). The average consumption is a single gallon to 50 hours of service. It is safe—cannot explode.

Today over 7,000,000 persons enjoy the blessings and comfort of the Aladdin lamp.

Aladdin Mantle Lamp Burner in operation.

Indeed! The Aladdin lamp was developed through application of scientific principles:

Ami Argand, 1750-1803, invented the principle of center draft whereby air is provided inside a tubular wick to the flame of a lamp. Argand’s “air lamps” became known as “Argand lamps,” which he first patented in England in 1784.

Dr. Auer von Welsbach, 1858-1929, an Austrian chemist, invented the incandescent gas mantle in 1885, a huge improvement in the history of artifical lighting.

The early techology of adapting the mantle to oil lamps was developed in Germany. Beginning in the early 1900s companies in the United States recognized the tremendous advantage of these improved lights. The Aladdin lamp became the world-wide leader in non-pressure incandescent lamps during the next 50 years.

The principle of the Aladdin burner is to produce a blue flame (virtually 100 % combustion) for maximum heat output. This heat causes the mantle to incandesce due to its unique chemical composition and properties. The Aladdin Lamp emits approximately 2500 BTUs of heat per hour.

The Aladdin lamp emits 60 candlepower of white light—No pumping—No noise—No smoke—No odor—No Danger. The Aladdin lamp is the only lamp of this type manufactured today.

An Aladdin lamp ready to light in case of emergency power outage provides much comfort in the household that plans ahead.

Copyright © 2002 by J. W. Courter. J. W. Courter is professor emeritus, University of Illinois. His avocation is collecting and studying oil lamps. He writes and publishes books about Aladdin Lamps.

Posted on

Invitation to The Mystic Light Newsletter

The more knowledge and information you have – the stronger and more enjoyable is your hobby.

J. W. “Bill” Courter

This is your personal invitation, as an owner, collector, user or dealer of Aladdin lamps, to join Aladdin Knights by subscribing to The Mystic Light newsletter published by the Bright Knight—J. W. “Bill” Courter. Our name was taken from Aladdin’s ceremonies held over 100 years ago to honor and give recognition to employees.

Knights receive The Mystic Light of the Aladdin Knights in all 50 states, Canada, England, Australia, Germany and other countries, largely because the Aladdin lamp was manufactured and sold worldwide! The newsletter, first published in 1973, fills 12 to 24 pages or more, six issues per year with First Class handling. Full color began in 2012.

The Mystic Light updates collecting news, information from Aladdin, Crownplace Brands and the editor’s column (Light Beams). It brings you firsthand information on rare Aladdin lamps, up-to-date prices, reproductions, studies by other collectors, history of The Mantle Lamp Company of America and news of other collections and discoveries. Basic to our purpose is preservation of memorabilia of the kerosene and the early electric era that was such an important part of rural America.

The Mystic Light Newsletter was first published in 1973.

Aladdin Knights meet once each year at a central location to learn more about Aladdin lamps, improve their collections, and renew friendships. We call our conventions “Gatherings.” The Gatherings are sponsored (since 2002) by the National Association of Aladdin Lamp Collectors, Inc. (NAALC). The website is We enjoy room trading, an auction, educational seminars, display room, World Class Lamp Show and Sale, banquet, Aladdin quilt raffle and more. We invite all lamp and lighting clubs to join us.

By receiving the newsletter, you are put in touch with the National Gathering, Regional Meets, estate auctions, collecting values, reproduction news and other collectors who advertise lamps and parts for sale and trade. You
may place one free twenty-word ad with your renewal each year.

I invite you to make the most of your interest in Aladdin lamps and their magical, bright, white
light—where you need it and when you need it!

Posted on

A Brief History of Aladdin Knights of the Mystic Light

Collecting lamps, friends and memories

Aladdin Knights Logo celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Aladdin Lamps 1908-2008

Bill Courter bought an Aladdin Corinthian Lamp for emergency light in 1965. He was “illuminated” by the Magic of the Aladdin light and began collecting lamps and their history. He published two books on Aladdin lamps and history of the company in 1972 (revised in 1997) and 1987. He began writing the Mystic Light newsletter for collectors in 1973. The newsletter’s goal is to share discoveries, information and provide interchange among serious collectors.

The name of our newsletter was taken from the original “Order of Aladdin Knights of Mystic Lights” whereby Aladdin company personnel were duly recognized in ceremonies over 100 years ago. Officials were appropriately called “High Mogul, Bright Knight, Inner Guard, Restless Knight and Good Knight.” Collectors today create their own unique “handles” such as Bright Knight and Sir Lamps A-lo

J. W. “Bill” Courter

Collectors who subscribe to the Mystic Light are called Aladdin Knights—the finest group of Aladdin and lamp collectors in the world! Aladdin Knights live in 49 states, Canada, England, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Holland, Italy and other countries. More than 9,500 Lifetime Knights have been assigned during the past 46 years.

Collectors who subscribe to the Mystic Light are called Aladdin Knights—the finest group of Aladdin and lamp collectors in the world! Aladdin Knights live in 49 states, Canada, England, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Holland, Italy and other countries. More than 9,500 Lifetime Knights have been assigned during the past 46 years.

The Mystic Light newsletter is published by Bill Courter. Gatherings of Aladdin Knights prior to 2002 were organized, financed and promoted via the newsletter.

The Aladdin Knights first gathered at the Nashville, Tennessee Flea Market in 1973. They rented booth space to meet other collectors as well as trade lamps and experiences. Aladdin Industries company staff supported the collectors. Since then the gatherings have grown from meeting at antiques flea markets to major hotels and large, more formal, planned events.

Today the Gatherings are run by volunteers and financed via registration, auction and admission fees, raffle of quilts by Ladies of The Knights and sale of memorabilia.

The National Association of Aladdin Lamp Collectors (NAALC) was formed in 2002 to sponsor the Gathering. Bill Lohmeyer agreed to do the legal and accounting work to accomplish incorporation with the State of Indiana and necessary federal filings to attain the 501 ( c ) 3 status.

Two important reasons for this action: (1) the formal organization provides a legal structure to limit personal liability during the Gatherings, to all of us, and (2) to provide an Association to carry on the interests of Aladdin collectors in the future. The essence of the corporation is to protect 46 years investment given by Aladdin Knights in development of the Gathering for the study, exhibition, and collection of Aladdin lamps. You become an associate member of NAALC by registration at the Gathering or by subscribing to the Mystic Light newsletter.
The newsletter carries official business and NAALC news. The NAALC website is:

The success of Gatherings is attributed to unselfish dedication of time, energy and expertise of Aladdin
Knights to plan, organize and conduct the events over the past 46 years. Knights carry out and perform many
functions at their own expense. Their reward is enjoyment of their hobby, making new friends, preservation of
historical lighting and sharing their knowledge with others. And fun!

Copyright © 2002 by J. W. Courter. J. W. Courter is professor emeritus, University of Illinois. His avocation is collecting and studying oil lamps. He writes and publishes books about Aladdin Lamps.

Posted on

Identifying Aladdin Lamp Burners

The “heart” of the Aladdin is the lamp burner. and its improvements that primarily define the various models. Changes sometimes happened at a fast pace and variations in construction in burners and lamp bowls occurred throughout the models. The differences may be subtle such as the change between Model 3 to 4 or, Model 7 to 8 and in many model 23 burners.

Using figure 1, collectors and users are able to identify their Aladdin lamp burner and its approximate date of production by the design oo the wick raiser knob. Also useful for selecting the proper application for parts when coupled with our library of detailed burner views.

Fig. 1:
Copyright © 2017 by J. W. Courter. J. W. Courter is professor emeritus, University of Illinois. His avocation is collecting and studying oil lamps. He writes and publishes books about Aladdin Lamps.
Posted on

A Brief History of Aladdin Lamps

Victor S. Johnson, 1882-1943, photographed at work in 1924. Johnson named the Aladdin lamp and founded the company that made it world-famous.

“Nearly a century ago, a very small boy on a Nebraska farm read and re-read the Arabian Nights story of Aladdin in a room of darkness but for the flickering yellow light of an open flame “coal oil lamp.” Several years later that boy, grown to manhood, found a lamp that erased the darkness with a soft white light and it was only natural that he named the lamp “Aladdin.” An appropriate name, indeed, for this revolutionary boon to rural America seemed nothing short of magical in the intensity of its light.

“For those who lit the lamp, trimmed its wick and cleaned its chimney, or just enjoyed its friendly glow, the Aladdin lamp recalls many memories of golden childhood. It made learning possible for many boys and girls; made it possible for them to acquire knowledge that helped them realize their dreams and aspirations.

Aladdin Model 1

“Later, Aladdin brought this white light to every kind of habitat in every corner of the globe. For many, it has been the only light of their entire life. Even when electricity comes, there are a loyal few who profess to use the electric light only “to find the match” to light their Aladdin.”
V. S. Johnson, Jr.

Very Brief History

Victor Johnson founded the Mantle Lamp Company of America in Chicago in 1908 and imported the Practicus incandescent burner from Germany. He obtained the Aladdin trademark in 1908 and sold the first model of the American-made Aladdin lamp in 1909. In 1926 Johnson bought the Lippincott Glass factory in Alexandria, Indiana to make glass lamps, chimneys and shades, changing the name to Aladdin Industries.

Agents were recruited to sell lamps throughout the country and farm land. They demonstrated the Aladdin and often left the lamp in the home for an overnight trial. The agent arranged for local merchants to stock supplies. In 1928 the company turned solely to franchise dealers—some 15,000 in the early 1930s. The company advertised extensively in newspapers and through radio. Smilin Ed McConnell was so popular that he became the “Aladdin lamp man.”

Watson Hardware store, Golconda Illinois, 1937.

Aladdin lamps were made in the USA until 1963, after which brass lamps were imported from England. Only the glass lamps continued to be made in the USA. Since 1977 the Aladdin burners have been manufactured in Hong Kong while the fonts are made in the USA and England. Chimneys, wicks and mantles are
made in other countries today.

In 1999 Aladdin Industries sold the lamp division to collector/ investors who named their company Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company, located in Clarksville, Tennessee.

For more information, download a free copy of “A Brief History of Aladdin Lamps.”

Copyright © 2002 by J. W. Courter. J. W. Courter is professor emeritus, University of Illinois. His avocation is collecting and studying oil lamps. He writes and publishes books about Aladdin Lamps.