Early Lighting

19th Century Lantern with Mica Windows – Likely a Ship Lantern
  • Wonderful 19th century lantern with either mica or horn windows. We think this is mica but don’t hold us to it because Peggy came up in the antique world being told that all of this type of lantern windows were made of horn. Fact is, horn was certainly used in early lanterns but it warps in heat plus it draws insects and rodents, so it was later replaced by thin sheets of mica. Colonists arrived in America to find Native Americans already using mica so it didn’t take long for them to start using the better material. Horn and mica were used mostly for lanterns where instability made it likely that the lantern would be toppled over and glass windows would be broken, allowing the flame to catch something else on fire. Ships definitely needed lanterns that gave off good light (well, good light is relative to the times) and unbreakable. You might find these called Ship’s Lanterns but they weren’t all made for ships…..though this lantern would be appropriate for a nautical collection or Americana collection. They are scarce and this one is great. It is tin and has its original black paint although there are some paint losses, as expected. It also seems that someone wiped some gold paint in a few spots. It doesn’t take away from the look of this wonderful lantern—we didn’t realize it was gold paint—not more of the paint loss until Peggy got it ready to photograph. The lantern is a lovely example and sold to us from a long-time New Hampshire collection. It could be American or English. As you can see in the photos, one of the sheets of mica slid down a bit. We are sure that it could be loosened from the clip at the bottom and pushed back up. We will leave that decision and task to you. We are happy with it as is and we think you will also love it.

    #6736    $750