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Unique vintage light bulb continues to shine brightly

A unique vintage light bulb, featuring a cross, known as a Santuary glow lamp, is explained by Susan Mullikin in a recent Ask the Experts column.

QEnclosed is a picture of a light bulb I received from my uncle, about 25 years ago. He said it came from his grandfather. All I know about it is that he got it when he was overseas.

It still lights up and has the cross with Jesus on both sides. Any information you could give me will be greatly appreciated. I believe this is a very unusual light bulb, and something other readers would love to see. Thank you.

— C.H.
Livingston, La.


A Thank you for bringing your most unusual lightbulb to the attention of the readers of Antique Trader. I thought the lightbulb was most unique, myself having been in the antique field for quite a number of years.

Your lightbulb is referred to as a “glow lamp” – a tubular lightbulb with a silhouette inside. In November 1923, a gentleman by the name of Philip J. Kayatt offered clear and frosted bulbs with tips in his company’s catalog. By 1932, Philip Kayatt filed a patent for the first novelty neon glow lamp – depicting a figure of a sailor. At that time, Kayatt had four patents for television glow lamps, and this experience led him to take glow lamps to a new level. He discovered that the two electrodes in a neon glow lamp could be bent or shaped into anything imaginable, and by introducing different gases into the bulb, different colors could be achieved. Kayatt’s catalog at the time lists a cross bulb (or crucia).

During the 1930s, Aerolux Co. came into existence under Kayatt’s leadership, and today most glow lamps carry this name. You said that you know that your lightbulb was purchased overseas. Several early figural glow lamps have emerged from Europe. I would recommend checking the base of your lightbulb for a possible mark. From Europe, bulbs have been marked “Philips Holland” and “OSA Germany.”

Your Santuary glow lamp was used during religious festivals and for other purposes. With the cross of Christ burning brightly inside a lightbulb at Christmas, one was reminded of their strong religious faith. The lightbulb was used as a symbol by many Christians to live in the light of Christ. In today’s market, I would value your unique light bulb at $65 to $75.


QOnce again I need the help of Antique Trader. I have enclosed a photo of two pieces of China, and I have no idea what they were used for. The plate-type pieces measures 6-5/8” across any of the five blue-to-tan positions, and is 5/8” deep. It has a light blue marking on the bottom — BEYREUTH/BAVARIA/MILLAR and some type of building. The other piece has no marking and measures 6” across the rounded sides, and 7-1/4” across the handle and spout; it is 13/16” deep.


— T.M.
Mountain Top, Pa.

A Your two ceramic pieces, one marked Beyreuth/Bavaria/Millar, are not classed under the “Royal Bayreuth” family of ceramic porcelain pieces, which upon examination into the subject matter seems confusing to most when identifying pieces marked Beyreuth/Bavaria/Millar. According to Mary McCaslin, who has authored three Royal Bayreuth books, she identifies the pieces as being produced in a separate factory under the Beyreuth/Bavaria/Millar label in Bavaria. Primary decorations have included rose tapestry, floral scenic and portrait designs.

Your piece with no markings, I would refer to as a “nappy.” A nappy is a shallow open serving dish perhaps used for candy, nuts or even as a pin dish. If it was deeper, I would have classified it as a gravy dish. This piece I would value at $48. The plate, which is stamped Beyreuth/Bavaria/Millar on the bottom, I would classify as either an appetizer, dessert or salad plate. It sounds as if you have more than one, and I would say in today’s market a value of $28 would be conservative. I would also note, that in today’s market, most ceramic dinnerware pieces are down in value as compared to a number of years ago.

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