Monday, May 22, 2017

Vintage Oil Lanterns

If having three makes a collection, then I guess I have a collection of these vintage oil lanterns. I've heard them referred to as Railroad Lanterns. Here's the three I have:

A copper colored one...
 A red one...
And one that I painted black a couple of years ago...

I used Amy Howard's One-Step Paint in black to paint this lantern black years ago. It has held up well over the years.

I like to dress the lanterns up with faux nests and birds. These two  lanterns have ribbon and beaded candle rings to pretty them up.

All the lanterns were missing the glass and were no longer functional when I bought them years ago. 
I'm going to paint the red lantern too, so I cleaned up the dust around the oil well to prep it for painting. One-Step Paint adheres to metal really well, as I'm sure you've heard me say before.

It's interesting how these old lanterns worked. It appears the oil goes in the well at the bottom, the wick runs down into the oil well and soaks up the oil, and the top of the wick that sticks out burns. 
That little circular knob in the middle is used to turn the wick up as it burns down.

I can't even imagine what it was like to burn oil in a lamp or lantern inside the house or even carry a burning lantern around outside, can you? We are so spoiled in the 21st Century.

Thanks for dropping by!


  1. Your creative nests in the vintage lanterns are beautiful.
    We take flicking a switch for granted, but our easy access to artificial light has made us sacrifice precious sleep and disrupt our circadian rhythms.

  2. Love how you've dressed them up, particularly the red one. What a creative idea.

  3. Thank you for the supportive comment on my post "Holding On When You Want to Let Go". Just a quick update - I've just prematurely retired from my career to concentrate on a few health issues that I neglected while working long hours. Once I'm back on deck and fighting fit, which I expect to be sooner than later, I will have to choose which fork in the road I'll take. I hope the outcome is as positive as yours. Elizabeth xxx

  4. Old oil lanterns are so pretty and so are the oil lamps. We have one red lantern, and several oil lamps. Can you imagine reading by one of those things? I tried to look at a magazine by an oil lamp back when the power was off for a week during an ice storm. I couldn't read a word. Mama used to say her daddy read the Bible at night by the light of the fire or an oil lamp. I like how you have fixed up those old ones.

  5. They look great and I like how you use them in your vignettes. Some people still use them when there electricity goes out in the south.

    Enjoy your evening.


  6. So charming with the little birds inside. xoxo Su