George Washington was at the forefront of style and technology when he purchased “2 pair[s] Patent Lamps” for the Presidential mansion. The classically inspired, urn-shaped body embellished with bright-cut engraved foliate bands and garlands, serves as the oil reservoir that feeds a tubular wick held between two concentric metal tubes. The patented design by inventor François-Pierre Aimé Argand dramatically improved airflow, thereby producing a brighter flame that burned longer and produced less smoke than earlier oil lamps and candles. Impressed with their ability, Washington brought them back to Mount Vernon.

See also Argand lamp, W-13/B.1-B.2.
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Date

c. 1790-1797


People


Geography

  • Retailed - United States
  • Probably made - England

Material/Technique

Fused silverplate on copper, brass, tin, glass


Dimensions

Overall (H x W x D): 16 1/8 in. x 7 3/4 in. x 4 in. (40.96 cm x 19.69 cm x 10.16 cm)


Credit

Gift of Mrs. Charles A. Conrad, 1893


Marks

A.1:
Maker’s mark stamped at foot of front facet of font body: illegible, two masses appear to join above a jagged edge featuring three peaks. See Object File for image.


Object Number

W-13/A


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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