TeriAnn's Guide to Aladdin and other brands of kerosene Mantle Lamps

Contents  >  Introduction to Australian Aladdin lamps

 
 
 

 

An introduction to Australian Aladdin Lamps

Aladdin Industries Limited, Aladdin Australia, was incorporated 2 May 1924, originally offering American made model 11 Aladdin lamps for sale. When the model 12 was introduced in the United states Aladdin Australia started offering the American made model 12 lamps. The only difference between American model 11 and pre 1932 American made model 12 lamps is that the wick adjustment knob was labeled Sydney instead of Chicago. These lamps are covered in the pages for the American model 11 and model 12.

Aladdin model 11 Sydney wick adjustment knob
Model 11 Sydney knob
1922 through 1928

Aladdin model 12 Sydney wick adjustment knob
Model 12 Sydney knob
Late 1928 through WWII

  During the transition between model 11 and model 12 lamps Aladdin Chicago used up existing inventory of model 11 table lamp body parts combining them with new model 12 lamp body parts creating a series of transition lamps with a mix of parts from the two models. These transition lamps with model 12 burners were shipped to Australia to be sold.  During this time both Aladdin Chicago and Aladdin England made burners were made from a mixture of model 11 and model 12 burner parts to use up the inventory of model 11 burner parts. Aladdin England sold their hybrid burners domestically.  Aladdin Chicago placed model 12 Sydney wick adjustment knobs on their 11/12 hybrid burners and sent them to Aladdin Australia.   American Aladdin collectors never see any of the hybrid 11/12 lamps unless they also collect Australian model 12 lamps or the hybrid burners unless they also collect either Australian or British Aladdin lamps.

Aladdin model 11 -12 transition
Transition left to right:   Model 11 - Model 11 foot & stem, 12 lower bowl, 11 above chime, 12 burner -
Model 11 foot, lower stem, 12 upper stem and lower bowl, 11 above chime, 12 burner - Model 12 lamp
courtesy of Anthony Trueman

 

 In 1932 Australia started implementing large tariffs for imported lamps and lamp parts to protect jobs for Australian workers during the depression. In response Aladdin Australia started offering their own newly designed lamps and using up the existing inventory of American imported lamps.


courtesy of Anthony Trueman

The high tariffs caused Aladdin Australia to start manufacturing their own lamp fonts but continued importing burners first from America then from England. Instead of copying American or English lamp designs the Australians came up with their own unique lamp font design based on something that could be called a spigot and cup design. Burners require a high precision in manufacture and are by far the most expensive part of a lamp and many people in the rural Australian outback were too poor to afford multiple Aladdin lamps. So Aladdin Australia came up with a design that allowed a shelf lamp style font with a hole in the centre bottom that could be moved to any one of several different bases or even be used as a shelf lamp. This allowed a single shelf lamp to become a hanging lamp, a wall mounted lamp, a floor lamp, or a table lamp sitting on different length stems. There was even a base that was designed to allow the lamp to be carried by hand from location to location, called the hand carry lamp. What made all this possible is a tube that fit inside the centre hole in the font and a cup that the lamp font sat on. For the model 12 burner the tube in the font was the inner draft tube needed for the centre draft burner. The cup that the font rested on had slots, and the spigot holes to allow air to be drawn up into the burner. When the model 16 burners began importation after World War II the centre draft hole became an enclosed tube and the cup and spigot vent holes were eliminated.

Aladdin Australia model 12 cup
Model 12 cup is designed to hold the centre draft model 12 lamp bowls.
Note the slots and holes to allow air flow into the lamp's inner draft tube.
Early model 16 side draft lamps were sold on model 12 bases until the inventory was depleted.

Aladdin Australia model 16 base
The later cup is for the model 16 side draft lamp bowls.

Aladdin Australia model 12 lamp base
Model 12 lamp bowls had the inner draft tube for the burner and three bumps on the bottom
to allow air flow under the bowl when used as a shelf lamp.

Aladdin Australia model 16 lamp base
The model 16 lamp bowl has a blind pocket to fit the base.
The three bumps were eliminated since the burner did not need to draw air from the bottom
of the lamp when used as a shelf lamp.

Above 4 pictures courtesy of Anthony Trueman


 

 

There are 2 notable exceptions to this style of a single Lamp font that could be moved to several lamp bases. About 1950 through about 1955 Aladdin Australia  made a brass table lamp, style 1680, that had a one piece stem and base. This was soon replaced by English made model 14 brass table lamps that were sold under the same catalogue number.

Aladdin Australia model 1680 table lamp

The other exception was a plastic table lamp designed for use primarily in children's rooms and for the elderly. This lamp, style 1653, came in different pastel colours and was designed to be extremely resistant to tipping over with a deep narrow kerosene bowl inside a wide base. This lamp was in production from 1953 through 1956 and was one of the last lamps manufactured in Australia.

Materials:

Australian Aladdin lamps were made from a variety of metals. The metal lamp bowls were mostly made from brass, some from copper or a combination of the two. During the war years they were made from steel, with a combination of steel and brass as existing stocks of parts were used up early and right after WWII.

Aladdin Australia lamp bowls
Polished lamp bowls showing different metals used in construction. Except for WWII it seemed to be whatever they
could purchase for the best price. There was no effort to match metals on tops and bottoms.

Base stems were mostly made from wood, turned into several different patterns. More expensive table lamp stems were of metal. Bases were mostly steel filled with sand as a weight. Some bases of shorter lamps and the hand carry model were made from wood. When Bakelite became available  it was used extensively in three different colours.

Assorted Aladdin Australia lamp pedistals
Assortment of table lamp pedistals. Tall ones create banquet lamps, short ones, personal lamps.

Aladdin Australia Bakelite lamps
Bakelite banquet and personal lamps in dark brown (most common) and white.
Not pictured is a light brown Bakelite colour called Silky Oak.
Above courtesy of Anthony Trueman

 

 

 

A small number of earlier US manufactured Aladdin lamps were imported to Australia to sell by entrepreneurs prior to the founding of Aladdin Australia. Here is a 1916 ad from such an importer offering privately imported Aladdin model 6 lamps:

1916 ad
courtesy of Anthony Trueman

 

Aladdin Australia made their own lamps, wick cleaners, bug screens, and Chimneys. Mantles were imported from the UK as were most burners. Some American made model  B burners were also imported from America. The UK imported model 14 (Super Aladdin) burners were called model 16A burners, and American Model B burners were called Model 16B burners.  Aladdin Australia opened a subsidiary, Aladdin Lampshades pty. Ltd, to manufacture shades for the lamps. By 1960 Aladdin Lampshades pty. Ltd was no longer manufacturing shades. Its assets were liquidated in 1965.

 

Aladdin Australia bug screen

Side view Australian bug screen
Aladdin Australia bug screen

 

Aladdin Australia chimney markings
The most common Aladdin Australia chimney marking

 

Aladdin Australia advertising sign

 

Two Aladdin Australia tack signs made before 1927. Both are painted on non-galvanized sheet iron that
have tack holes predrilled st the corners.

Aladdin Australia advertizing tack sign
Both sign photos courtesy of Anthony Truman

 

By 1938 Aladdin Australia was offering a range of electric lights for people living in regions that have been electrified in addition to their range of mantle lamps. The urban parts of the country were rapidly becoming electrified while almost all of the northern rural areas were still without electricity

Aladdin Australia electric lamps
1938 ad for Aladdin Australia electric lamps courtesy of Anthony Truman

 

 

Aladdin Australia electric lamps 1963
Aladdin Australia display of their electric lamps in a 1963 furniture show in Sidney.

Aladdin Australia 1938 ad
1938 ad courtesy of Anthony Truman

Since mantle lamps were a largely a seasonal product the company expanded into other products such as kerosene refrigerators, room heaters, greenhouse heaters, irons, thermos products, and storm lanterns similar to the Coleman lanterns. During WWII they also manufactured products for the military to aid the war effort. During WWII they continued manufacturing kerosene lamps that used the model 12 burner. These lamps were made from steel with a black oxide coating. There are lamps that are part steel and part brass made as the existing stock of brass parts were used up.

Catalogues & price lists:

1938 or 1939 catalogue  (pdf file)

1953 Aladdin Australia wholesale catalogue & price list  (pdf file)

 

Book:

Aladdin Kerosene lamps in Australia by Allin Hodson
1999 ISBN 0646377558, printed by Hyde Park Press.
This out of print book is a must have for any collector interested in the unique lamps manufactured in Australia

 

ALADDIN INDUSTRIES LIMITED Addresses:

1924 to 1926 Aladdin House, 49-53 Shepherd Street, Sydney. Victoria Showrooms and Warehouse, 429 Bourke St., Melbourne.
1927 moved to 61-61William street, Sydney
1938 to 1957 61-71 Bourke St, Waterloo
1957 moved to 43-53 Bridge Rd. Stanmore

 

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This web site is not affiliated with Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company. Aladdin, and Lox-on are registered trademarks of Aladdin Industries LLC