Vintage Onion Lanterns

Great sources for finding vintage onion lanterns.
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1-1 heritagelanterns.com Brooklyn_Bracketa-234x234

Q: I’m trying to find the seller of the elongated onion lantern that I saw at oldhouseonline.com. Can you help?
—Linda Zanchi, Classic Colonial Homes, Leverett, Mass.

A: That elongated-glass onion-type lantern, shown above, is The Brooklyn Bracket from Heritage Lanterns; the company, unfortunately, is currently not in production. Still, the fixture’s history is interesting: “As far as we know, there’s no other lantern like this one in the entire United States. We located the original 100-year-old glass mold for this teardrop globe…and we had these globes blown using the original molds. In fact, the glassmaker was already in business during the Civil War. The Brooklyn Bracket is a reproduction of those originals once used on the cobbled streets of Brooklyn.”

I did find a round (spherical) onion globe available from The Copper House (thecopperhouse.com); Cape Cod Lanterns also has a round one with a cage (capecodlanterns.com). Round and elongated versions are rare. Most onion lamps, whether ceiling-hung or wall-mounted, are more Vidalia than white onion—squished, like the one from Northeast Lantern (northeastlantern.com), shown below. Sometimes this is called a Nantucket lantern. The onion lamp was, in the past, associated with ships’ lighting and nautical locales, especially in Massachusetts. Originals consisted of a mouth-blown, onion-shaped glass hurricane inside a protective metal cage. They burned whale oil and were hung to gimbal from a wall bracket. —Lori Viator

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