Reproductions of Aladdin Shades and Lamps
Aladdin lamps are increasingly popular among collectors who seek the colorful and rare lamps and shades made since 1908. Some are valued over $1,000. Reproductions and re-issues have been coming to market since about 1970. The purpose of this report is to bring attention to the latest round of reproductions that can fool the unaware, especially in a dark auction ring.
Aladdin lamps were made as table lamps, hanging lamps, floor lamps, wall lamps, and as caboose lamps. The company created special glass colors, made unique paper and glass shades, and beginning in the 1930s, started making Art Deco versions of electric lamps. All are collectible and useable today.
Aladdin is perhaps best known as a brand of "coal oil" lamp. It has been sold for over 90 years. The Aladdin lamp is the last non-pressure, kerosene, incandescent mantle lamp made in the world today.
The incandescent Aladdin mantle is far more efficient than a wick lamp. The mantle, made of a special mixture of rare earth oxides, produces light by a process called incandescence. Careful observation will reveal a small blue flame below the mantle, not the yellow flame of wick lamps. This blue flame burns at a higher temperature than wicks, heating the mantle to incandescence which produces the white light.
You can often spot an Aladdin because the chimney is slimmer and taller than chimneys on most other lamps. The tall chimney increases the draft and provides more air so the burner can sustain the higher temperature to heat the mantel to incandescence.
The Mantle Lamp Company of America was located in Chicago, IL from 1908 to 1949. In 1949, the company moved to Nashville, Tennessee and changed the business name to Aladdin Industries, Inc.
The company became well known for its children's lunch kits, thermos bottles and the unbreakable Stanley Bottle. In 1999, Aladdin Industries sold the lamp division to a group of collector-investors who formed the Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company in Clarksville, Tennessee. This new company carries on the tradition of making authentic Aladdin lamps and parts. Their web site is www.aladdinlamps.com.
Collectors and dealers of vintage Aladdin lamps have formed the Aladdin Knights to share their mutual interest. The group publishes a newsletter, The Mystic Light of the Aladdin Knights and maintains a web site at www.aladdinknights.org.
Fig. 1 Reproduction Diamond Quilted lamp (left) compared with original Aladdin (Quilt) Style B-86 sold in 1937 (right). Aladdin did not sell this pattern style in red glass. Also there is difference in the original collar (plated and depressed groove) verses the new one (smooth & plain). The reproduction is 10- inches tall with six well formed feet. The quilted pattern of the reproduction is sharper than the original.
Fig. 2 Reproduction Style 202 table lamp shade (Aladdin Models #1, 2), cased green over white opal glass. The color is not as dark or as uniform as the original. This shade is possibly from a new or reworked mold compared with older samples described in PG #20. The mold line at the bottom remains evident on the repro. This is a substitute shade that should not fool anyone.
Fig. 3 Crown of new 202 table lamp shade. On the reproduction, the design in the top crown has been reworked and is much smoother than the original.
Fig. 4 Crown of original 202 table lamp shade. The raised points continue from the shoulder up to the top rim.
Fig. 5 Reproduction Style 616 hanging shade for Aladdin Model #12; with satin top and clear apron. The satin finish is applied to both the inside and outside surfaces, an easy distinguishing feature. The original (early 1930s) top was white fired paint. The "crystal prisms" are not sharp and shaped slightly different than the original. The repro is heavy compared to original and my example seems risky to support by set screws on the top rim which is narrow and not well formed.
Fig. 6 Reproduction Style 215 hanging shade for Model #6 (ca. 1915- 16) Aladdin lamp, cased glass with white opal inside. The original shade was not cased glass or rough cut-off on the bottom edge like the new ones.
Fig. 7 Reproduction Style 601 table lamp shade (Aladdin Model #12), with satin top and clear apron. The original did not have satin finish applied to both the inner and outer surfaces like this new shade. The roses, larger than original, are hand painted on the inside, causing them to look subdued. The crown has been reworked and is not as distinct as the original.
Fig. 8 Style 601-02 R table lamp shade for Aladdin Model #12 with satin top and clear apron. There is no drape under the top crown (see Style 601 Repro). The rose design is painted on the outside surface. The inside surface is shiny glass.
Fig. 9 Rose design hand painted on inside surface of reproduction Style 601 table lamp shade above.
Fig. 10 Hand painted rose design 601-02R table lamp shade.
Fig. 11 Reproduction Style 301 table lamp shade (Aladdin Model #6), cased glass with white opa1 inside. The original 301 was either painted white on the outer surface and fired or white opal glass (not cased).
Fig. 12 Original 601F table lamp shade for Aladdin Model #12 table lamps, early 1930s. The top is etched satin finish with clear apron sides. The roses are applied by silk screen process to the outer surface. The inside surface is shiny without satin finish.
Fig. 13 Original 501-9 table lamp shade for Aladdin Model O9) has painted/fired white top dome and clear apron. Often there are traces of light spray paint drifting into the clear apron.
Fig. 14 Rose on original 601F table lamp shade (Model #12). The red, green and blue decoration is silk screened on the outside surface. The yellow part of flowers appears to be applied enamel paint.
Fig. 15 Reproduction Style 501-9 table lamp shade (Model #9), satin etched top and clear apron. Shades sold in mid 1990s were marked with an oval label applied on the lower inside edge (see below). Newer shades are unmarked and can be foolers.
Fig. 16 Permanent mark in white letters which appears on some, but not all, reproduction 501-9R shades. The label reads, By Davis Lynch, U. S. A., For American Lamp.
J.W. Courter is the leading authority on Aladdin lamps. His book are the standard references on Aladdin products. His titles include: Aladdin The Magic Name in Lamps; Aladdin Electric Lamps; and companion price guides. The current Aladdin Collectors Manual and Price Guide #20, shown above, includes information on Aladdin reproductions..