Solar Harp Lamps - circa 1845
The motivation for reproducing this lamp came from the
National Park Service. They needed two such lamps as part of
the restoration of the sutlers store at Fort Laramie in
Wyoming. The store interprets its role during the 1850s
and early 1860s when it served the officers and enlisted
men at the post as well as trappers, traders, Indians, and emigrant
families moving west.
These harp lamps were sold either with or without a shade.
Those without shades were generally used in stores, factories,
and areas in a home other than the general living quarters. Lamps
with shades were used in halls, studies, and parlors the
1856 Starr, Fellows & Company illustrated catalog displays
a number of Oil Hanging Lamps for use with oil, fluid, or camphene
along with this notation: During the last few years, a
great want has arisen for something adapted to lighting the Halls
of the numberless splendid suburban Mansions, which have sprung
up in the vicinity of our great cities; all the known styles
being ill adapted to compare with the costly edifices thus brought
into being by our retiring millionaires. The above are samples
of some we have got up during the last year for that purpose.
Many of these lamps were quite ornate. Some were supplied
with smoke bells; it is not readily apparent what deciding factor(s)
influenced the decision to include a smoke bell with a lamp.
Drawings in the 1856 Starr, Fellows & Co. catalog and the
1860 Dietz catalog show lamps with them and as well as lamps
without them. Some solar lamps have an attachment for a smoke
bell but with no bell attached. Several solar harp lamps, intended
for use in ship cabins, have a large metal bell that might have
been intended to protect low ceilings more from heat than smoke.
Very ornate lamps tended to be pictured with smoke bells and
almost all kerosene lamps were pictured with them as well.
The reproduction solar lamps being offered here, from a
design perspective, are decidedly simple and reserved in style
when compared with many of their ornate counterparts. It is very
likely that smoke bells would not have been provide on these
lamps in the period and so they are not being offered with smoke
bells now. The lamps measure 26-3/4 in height and are 14-1/2wide.
The wiring for electrified lamps is run through the tubing that
makes up the harp; the wire exits at the top of the hanger. When
used with a hollow support rod and or hollow ceiling hook the
wires are nearly invisible. The profile of the harp has been
copied from the No. 5 Harp, brass wire, dipped and lacquered
as pictured in the Starr, Fellows & Co. 1856 illustrated
catalog (19th Century Elegant Lighting by Gerald T. Gowitt, page
107). The patinated and lacquered finish on these lamps is a
beautiful deep, rich brown that was typical on many period fixtures.
Other finishes are available. These lamps are available either
electrified or oil-burning; electrified versions are available
with an internal on/off dimmer switch which is operated by turning
the breather cup located at the very bottom of the font.
||Solar Harp Lamp electrified, chimney
||Solar Harp Lamp electrified, shade
||Solar Harp Lamp additional charge for