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Imperial Zipper Loop Lamps

     Following this “iridescent trail” for thirty years results in having friends “in the right circumstance”. Not only are those cherished friends developed from around the world, but they are (on occasion), happily discovered to own the required elements for developing an entire segment! How very fortunate we are to have known Bob and Ernestine Brooks of Windsor, Nova Scotia since “way back when” we first set out on this “trail”, but in a chance discussion about these lamps, they casually stated that they own one of every size known! We seized the opportunity of their knowledge and ability to produce for you viewers, what we believe to be the first time advantage of seeing all these lamps together (in person and true, living color-(smile). Their personal story of acquisition is fascinating reading as well! ~ Enjoy!

     Both my husband and I received a crystal oil lamp from our parents, to use in an emergency should our electricity go out, and that got us interested in oil lamps.  After we started collecting carnival glass, and studying the reference books, we learned that there were carnival glass oil lamps,~~ and the hunt was on.

     We thought that it was only a matter of saving enough money and we could purchase carnival lamps any time we wanted, ~ but finding them was an altogether different matter. We found our first carnival lamp in 1984, and it was a small size Zipper Loop hand lamp. Since then we have added 4 more hand lamps, and they are in 3 different sizes.

     We have a total of 15 Zipper Loop lamps all in marigold, except 2 that are smoke. Thirteen of the lamps have been purchased locally, and all pretty much in the same area of Nova Scotia. While inquiring about carnival lamps from one dealer in that area, she stated that all of her carnival lamps were shipped to Rose Presznick in the late `70s, and we never were able to purchase any lamps from that dealer.

     Our large size hand lamp was purchased at the ICGA convention in 2001, and one of our smoke lamps was purchased from George and Mavis Loescher at that same convention.  The 1909 Imperial Glass Catalogue lists their Zipper Loop lamps as their number 201 ½ line, and shows 7 different sizes of blown stand lamps, 3 different sizes of blown hand lamps, also a blown sewing lamp.  We feel fortunate to have this many of the prized Zipper Loop lamps.

 Regards, Bob & Ernestine Brooks~Aug.2004

Have you ever opened a carnival glass price guide expecting to find the value of your Imperial Zipper Loop oil lamp, only to realize that the lamp described probably isn't the size or shape that you own? Most price guides and reference books usually give credit to only three different sizes or shapes. Actually, the word “styles” would be far more appropriate.

Pictured below are reprints from the 1909 Imperial Glass Co. catalog. If you look carefully, you'll note that Zipper Loop lamps were actually made in three different styles ~~ Stand lamp, Sewing lamp, and Hand or Finger  lamp.
Reprint from the 1909 Imperial Glass Catalog

Reprint from the 1909 Imperial Glass Catalog illustrating the seven sizes of Stand Lamps
Reprint from the 1909 Imperial Glass Catalog illustrating the seven sizes of Stand Lamps

The Stand lamp, which is the regular style most often encountered, was produced in seven different sizes (measured from the base to the top of the brass collar).  

Large size STAND LAMPS
Large size STAND LAMPS

As you view the photo of Large size stand lamps -left to right - actual measurements are:  4 ¾” diam. x  8 1/8” high,  6 “ diam. x 10 ½” high, 6 1/8” diam. x 11 1/8” high, 5 ¾” diam. x 10 3/8” high, 5 ¼” diam. x 9” high.

SEWING LAMP seen in the 1909 Imperial Glass Catalog.
SEWING LAMP seen in the 1909 Imperial Glass Catalog.

The Sewing lamp was made only in one size~5 ½” diam. x 7 7/8” high. It  has a more squat  pedestal and a more bulbous font than the regular style stand lamp.

Medium size lamps--Two Smoke STAND LAMPS on left - SEWING LAMP in center - Two STAND LAMPS on the right.
Medium size lamps--Two Smoke STAND LAMPS on left - SEWING LAMP in center - Two STAND LAMPS on the right.

As you view the Medium size Stand lamps pictured ~~ left to right ~~ Smoke color is 3 7/8” diam. x 7” high, smoke-4 ¾” diam. x 7 7/8” high, then the sewing lamp, with the next two being: 4 ¾” diam. x 7 7/8” high, 4” diam. x  71/8” high.
Three sizes in the FINGER LAMPS as seen in the 1909 Imperial Glass Catalog.
Three sizes in the FINGER LAMPS as seen in the 1909 Imperial Glass Catalog.
Three sizes in FINGER LAMPS
Three sizes in FINGER LAMPS

The Hand lamp, or Finger lamp as it is generally called, came in three sizes. As you view the photos of this style, left to right-actual sizes are: 4 14” diam. x  5 ½” high, 4 ¼” diam. x 5 ¼” high, 3 ½” diam. x 4 ¾” high.

Carnival glass Zipper Loop lamps were made in two colors ~~ marigold and smoke. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a great variation in prices for any of the styles, sizes  or colors, in today's market; with perhaps only $100-$150 separating them.

It is also very difficult to find a lamp which doesn't have some damage. These lamps were made in an era when electric incandescent lighting was first becoming available, and they were intended for use. Quite often you'll  find a crack in the font caused by heat from the burner or a chip or bruise on the base.
These lamps were apparently made by the barrels full, but usage has certainly taken a toll, because any style is actually quite difficult to obtain today.

NOTE: In the mid-1960's, and 1970's, the Imperial Glass Co. re-issued the third smallest size Stand lamp in rubigold iridescent (marigold) and in peacock iridescent (smoke). This size was also re-issued in two non-iridescent colors ~~ amber, and a very attractive medium blue. The IG trademark was added to the inside of the base. The small size finger lamp was also re-issued, but reportedly only in the two-non-iridescent colors aforementioned. This lamp did not carry the IG trademark, presumably because it was not re-issued in carnival glass.

We sincerely hope that this “study” will bring about further understanding and appreciation  for these extremely scarce and valuable “lamps of the past!”

Note: An 8 1/8”  lamp having a  4 ¾” base brought $250 at the 2004 HOACGA Convention auction when Seeck Auctions sold the Pritchard collection.

         Dean & Diane Fry - 9/04

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God will  give us passion for His eternal Word if we are truth seekers
~~Dave Brannon
The Word of God is truth;
So when my faith grows dim,
I look into His Word
And trust my life to Him. ~~Hess
If  you're searching  for nuggets of truth, the Bible is a gold mine.

Should you care to contact the Frys, their email address is:

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