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/A.1-A.2.


c. 1790-1797



  • Retailed - United States
  • Probably made - England


Fused silverplate on copper, brass, tin, glass


Overall (H x W x D): 16 1/2 in. x 8 1/8 in. x 4 in. (41.91 cm x 20.64 cm x 10.16 cm)


Gift of Mrs. Charles A. Conrad, 1893

Object Number



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