Gliding On Ice With A Skaters Lantern

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Skaters Lanterns

Green skaters lanternThe very sight of an antique skater’s lantern brings back childhood memories of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. In my mind’s eye I see young boys and girls, men and women, bundled up in thick wool coats, knit caps and scarves. It is nighttime, yet they are gliding gleefully around frozen fishponds on hand-carved wooden skates; their circular paths lit by the gentle glow emanating from their hand-held skater’s lanterns.

Often made of brass and lit by kerosene, skater’s lanterns are highly collectible. The more common skater’s lantern features a chain and ring and has a clear glass globe. The color of the lantern’s glass globe can greatly increase the antique lantern’s value. Those featuring a green glass globe or a teal-colored globe are often valued in excess of several hundred dollars.
In the evolution of lighting methods, lanterns made of tin, iron, wood, glass and horn allowed light to be portable. The word “lantern” evolved from the term Lanthorn—thin, translucent sheets of flattened cattle horn which light could pass through.
The kerosene lantern, also known as a hurricane lantern, was commonly used from the late 1800s throughCobalt skaters lantern the middle of the 20th century. Abraham Gesner coined the term ‘kerosene’ in the mid-1840s to describe a lamp “fueled by processed coal.” This early fuel was also referred to as ‘coal oil.’
The kerosene lantern was designed for portability. The duct system design stabilized and enhanced a draft of air that could reach the flame, creating a stable, bright, wind-resistant flame.
Most lanterns are marked with only a patent date and sometimes a manufacturer’s name, such as “Hurricane Lantern Co., N.Y.” Very few items are marked with the actual patent number. This may render it difficult to confirm that a brass or metal lantern is indeed a bona fide antique.

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