Sinumbra Lamp

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Object Name: 
Sinumbra Lamp
Accession Number: 
96.4.139
Dimensions: 
Overall H: 44.4 cm, Diam: 16.4 cm
Location: 
On Display
Date: 
1830-1835
Credit Line: 
Purchased with funds from the Gertrude Christman Melvin Endowment
Web Description: 
This is one of thrsee known New England Glass Company labeled lamps with black glass bases. There are also three or four with colorless glass bases and the same metal label, all from the same time period. This type of oil lamp with a circular font was called a sinumbra (without shadow) or astral (like a star) lamp, because it had no solid font to cast a shadow. It was developed by the American, Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford and patented in France as a "lampe astrale" in 1809-1810 by Bordier-Marcet. The New England Glass Company of Cambridge, Mass, is the only American firm known to have made these lamps. The few similar one with American markings bear the labels of wholesalers who purchased the parts and put them together in this country. The "BOSTON" on the label refers to the site of the retail store from which the lamp was sold, at 140 Washington St. in downtown Boston.
Department: 
Provenance: 
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., Source
1996-07-17
Category: 
Primary Description: 
Black amethyst and colorless lead glass, metal, shade; pressed, blown, tooled, cut; metal parts fabricated by hand. (a) Stem has metal hour-glass shaped portion at top which is hollow and has air-intake holes, attached by plaster to a black-amethyst solid glass stem with three large wafers above a cylindrical solid section and two more wafers below, applied to a pressed portion consisting of a spoll-shaped section above a square foot with a rosettelike hollow underneath; (b) cream-colored painted metal ring-shaped font with filler hole, attached by two hollow tubes to a central metal shaft which has on its side a rectangular metal label lettered "N.E.GLASS CO/BOSTON" and ends in screw threads which fit into (a). (c) Is a tubular burner, which drops into the central shaft of (b); (e) colorless glass circular shade, with the outer surface roughened by grinding and a design of flowers and leaves cut through the roughening which rests on the metal font; (d) cylindrical chimney with a constriction near the larger lower end which fits over the burner; "N.E.GLASS CO/BOSTON" on metal label affixed to stem.
New Marks on Old Glass (2011) p. 10, fig. 15; BIB# AI85388
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 1996 (1997) illustrated, p. 11; BIB# AI95179
Recent Important Acquisitions, 39 (1997) illustrated, p. 166, #18; BIB# AI5243