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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rayo Lamps


My mother had a pair of Rayo lamps on her dresser in her bedroom for as long as I can remember.  These brass lamps had originally been oil lamps and were converted to electric lamps.  I think they are beautiful and have classic lines that will blend with many furniture styles.  She passed one lamp down to me and one to my sister.  Perhaps one day we can both pass them to my niece and reunite the pair.

A Brief History of the Rayo Lamp

The Rayo Lamp was manufactured in Connecticut by the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company.  “Perfection,” the name for the Rayo lamp flame thrower was initially made under contract with the Standard Oil Company.  Legend has it that if you bought 15 gallons of Standard Oil kerosene, you would get a free Rayo lamp.  Bradley & Hubbard began to advertise and sell the Rayo lamp to retailers like Montgomery Ward, with the goal of helping Standard Oil sell more kerosene.  The Rayo lamp is solid brass and is nickel plated.  The Rayo was a central draft lamp with a round wick, as were other oil lamps at the time.  These central draft lamps were later surpassed in the early 1900s by the new mantle Aladdin lamps, which  provided 60 watts of light from a much smaller wick and half the fuel.

Mom's Rayo lamp:

A pair of polished Rayo lamps I picked up while antiquing last week:

When you think about table lamps for your home, you should consider a Rayo lamp or another oil lamp that has been converted to an electric lamp.  Oil lamps that have not yet been converted may also be adapted for use as an electric lamp in your home.  These lamps are beautiful and can make a great impact as part of your decor.

Please comment on this blog posting and let me know what topics are of interest to you in future posts.

Have a great weekend!



  1. I have a Rayo lamp, but I didn't know it 'til now!
    After reading this, I ran upstairs to check for the name & found it on the cap where you'd put the kerosene in.

  2. I never knew what they were called either! Thanks for the info Lynn!