The innovative type of lighting represented by this elegant pair of oil lamps was invented by Samuel Parker in England in 1820. The sinumbra (without shade) lamp has a narrow, tapering tank nested below the flame, and it does not cast a large shadow around the center of the base. Parker also recognized the advantages of frosted glass shades, which he described in his patent application as diffusing the light “as equally and agreeably as possible” (Thomas Webster and Frances Byerly Parkes, The American Family Encyclopedia of Useful Knowledge, New York: Derby, 1856, p. 182). These lamps resemble several examples illustrated in a trade catalog published by Marsaux et Cie in Paris between 1800 and 1849 (Winterthur Library, Downs Collection). Stylistically, they are related to ancient Roman columns (with a base and shaft of cut glass) and finely chased Corinthian capitals. Like the new technology inside these annular lamps, their neoclassical design reflects the height of fashion: the Empire style, which was popular from about 1800 to about 1830. Both the Empire style and this type of lamp enjoyed great international success. Sinumbra lamps were produced in great numbers and widely distributed. However, examples with this high quality of glass and bronze mounts were rare and expensive. For more on the sinumbra lamp, see Vincent P. Plescia, “Successful Innovations in Domestic Oil Lighting, 1784–1859,” The Magazine Antiques, v. 168, no. 6, December 2005, pp. 92–101.