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This classically inspired lamp represents state-of-the-art lighting technology in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century America. The urn-shaped body 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 and produced a bright flame equal to ten candles. Impressed with their performance, George Washington purchased well over a dozen Argand-type lamps for the presidential mansion.

See also Argand lamp, W-2138/A.1-A.3.


Brass urn-shaped Argand-type lamp font with a fluted bowl, Greek-key ornamented shoulder, and enclosed top with two openings for the lever arm and central burner; the whole is set upon a hollow, pierced, and flared base.

Copper and tin-coated brass tube; a vertical gap runs the length of the tube, the gap once accommodated the arm from a second internal tube and lever (now missing) used to raise and lower the wick; the top lip is enclosed, from which extends an arm to allow its easy removal from the font; an iron ring is soldered into the interior of the butt end.

Circular brass ring affixed to a pierced base; short shoulders cradle the cylindrical glass chimney.





Brass, tin, copper, iron, glass


Overall (H x W x D): 10 in. x 3 7/8 in. x 3 7/8 in. (25.4 cm x 9.84 cm x 9.84 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1956

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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