Pottery Lamp

This red clay lamp has a rounded body, looped handle, and a small hole in the middle for filling the lamp with oil. The lamp has a cotton wick in its mouth. A faint design is stamped into the lamp’s center discus, perhaps a stalk of grain.
Electric cap lamp inventor Grant Wheat’s personal collection of mining lamps was donated to the museum in 1962. Many of these objects were depicted in his “Story of Underground Lighting” published in the “Proceedings of the Illinois Mining Institute” in 1945. This lamp was the fifth object he used to describe the chronological development of underground lighting. Wheat wrote that the lamp is an “original pottery lamp from Pompeii, nearly 2000 years old.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
lamp, pottery
overall: 3 5/16 in x 5 in x 6 13/16 in; 8.382 cm x 12.7 cm x 17.272 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Mining
Industry & Manufacturing
Grant Wheat Collection
Mining Lamps
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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