Ask Antique Trader: Shedding light on dolphin lamp

Is this dolphin lamp a product of the Sandwich Glass Company? It has a hollow double-step, and height of 14 3/4 inches. “White Flame Light Co., Grand Rapids, Mich” is imprinted on the burner and “Made in USA” is stamped on the wick’s control wheel. Base and font show uranium oxide under a black light.
 – B. Carrens, Mountain Home, Ark.

A Sandwich Glass, endeared by many, was made by Boston and Sandwich Glass Works, Sandwich Cape Cod, Mass., 1825-88. The dolphin was produced in numerous forms mostly on lamps, candlesticks and compotes. There were other New England and Pittsburgh companies that made similar objects. Hundreds of table lamps were available and lavish colors were brought to the market including green-yellow (vaseline). In large part, whimsical dolphins remained popular in glass long after the motif disappeared from furniture styles. The font and dolphin had to be manufactured separately. On your photo, it appears the sphere-font is mold-blown and dolphin is pressed glass. Sandwich did make a vertical coiled dolphin lamp and did make a green color and did combine mold-blown with pressed glass. Often lamps were altered and to confirm attribution  you could contact the curator at the Sandwich Glass Museum. If originality and condition is confirmed, this lamp could be valued at $2,000. The museum address is: Sandwich Glass Museum, 129 Main Street, Sandwich Cape Cod, MA 02563.

Q What would this chair have been used for?
 – J. Baughman, Cameron, Ill.

A Patent # 1473702 was assigned to Frank & Ada Guthridge of Chicago in 1901 for this chair/clothing display rack. A second, purpose-built chair was patented with a garment hanger that could be used without interference of normal use. Salesmen would use them to display samples and clerks could position apparel to be seen to the best advantage to customers. This oak chair allowed garments to be more accessible than on a dressed mannequin, and was a lot less work. Cloaks were up to 55 inches long, full-length trousers could be displayed, ruffles, sequins, buckles and attached lacing-rings could be viewed. A brass pin, when released, causes the back to pivot and the design allows either position to be locked. The outward arms are placed high on the tall back and each chair proudly displays an engraved brass plaque. Many are around and considered a curiosity, with a value of about $150.

Q Could you tell me if these are coach lights?
 – M. Scott, Owensville, Ind.

A A carriage, complete with coachman, added splendor to a business, a high stepping parade or Sunday afternoon drive. Slender coach lights would have been mounted on the upper cab, high enough to throw illumination ahead of the horses. Smaller buggies would have one beveled-glass lamp while large depot buses had several. Usually made of painted sheet-iron or brass, you could order extras like glass guards or decorative finials. In an 1892 stable hardware catalog you could have purchased a fancy pair for $7.50. There were five design styles and brackets which were 35 cents extra. Early models were candle-burning or kerosene burners. If you kept the wick trimmed, a candle would burn 4-5 hours and kerosene a total of 16-18 hours. Carriage lamps were thought of as a silent announcer that others are sharing the road. Similar pairs have sold for $350-$650.

Barbara J. Eash, a member of The Certified Appraisers Guild of America, likes to say, “Antiques are memories that you can touch with your hand.” While living in Tennessee Eash coordinated the annual NBC Channel 3 appraisal fair and was known as the Chattanooga Antiques Lady. She has managed two antique shops, and has appraised for TV shows, clinics and in court. Now living in Wisconsin, she chairs Milwaukee Public Television’s annual appraisal fair. Her two office locations are in antiques shops in Waukesha and New Berlin, Wis.

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