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  From fred007
25th November 2005
Further to our early discussions re the lamps I bought from an online dealer in the USA. Remember I bought several  "broken" lamps to use in schools which appear to be fakes.....well I accidently broke one even further and am curious about the techniques of a forger of lamps.
The piece lamp surrounding the wick hole is blackened all the way through the clay not just on the surface like one would expect from a fake.

If this lamp is indeed a fake how have they managed to blacken the clay around the wick hole right through its clay structure and yet not the clay of the rest of the lamp?


Has any of the members, or do you know anyone who has watched these guys fake the lamps, as it would be interesting to know the science of their process.


One would assume that they would make their own lamp from clay, and then apply their own "brew' to artificially age the lamp. But why go to the hassle of blackening the clay through its structure around just the wick hole when in most cases the lamps would be sold intact?


I would appreciate your thoughts as well as the thoughts of other members.


Also, I has anyone heard of a collector in the USA who collected a huge amount of oil lamps under the name of "The Shaw Primitive Lighting Collection"? I believe he bolonged to the Rushlight club in    the US and passed away recently. I believe he wrote some books on lamps and displayed in museums as well as travelling extensively as part of the Rushlight Club. I am interested in finding more information about the whole history of lighting (as part of my involvement with schools) and would like to find more about his work, but can't find any info on the web, the Rushlight club's emails keep bouncing and no one seems to know any more about where I can get more information.


 From David K

30th november 2005


I'm afraid I have never witnessed these fakes being made so I can only speculate.


It is characteristic of these Syrian fake lamps that they often bear a peculiar faded greyish tint around the nozzle. Such tints do not occur in quite this way on authentic lamps but they are common on these fakes and are in fact frequently a distinguishing feature of them. I have attached a few random examples of these fakes to illustrate.


  • This peculiar characteristic has often puzzled me but your correspondent seems to have found the answer. It seems the makers liberally add ash to the portion of the clay occupying the nozzle section when in the mould - presumably in an attempt to simulate an ancient burnt appearance to the nozzle. Any excess ash is then cleaned off the clay after firing - leaving that peculiar washed grey look. The process apparently varies in its results since not all these Syrian fakes exhibit the grey tint.
  • The faker's effort costs little extra work but is actually in vain anyway however since a) the strange greyish tint which results acts as an instant giveaway to anyone who is familiar with this series of fakes and b) such tints are very different to any aging occurring on genuine lamps.
  • The broken cutaway of your correspondent's example condemns that item instantly. Carbon residue on genuine lamps is deposited mainly on the surface and does not penetrate much deeper that a few millimeters; it does not permeate all the way through the clay in this fashion.
  • And this example makes no sense at all anyway. In a lamp with such a clean nozzle like this example the carbon would not have blackened the underlying clay but left the nozzle clean! Even if the nozzle had been cleaned later, that degree of burning would have reduced the nozzle to a blackened stump, not the cleanly broken but otherwise complete nozzle visible in the photo.


Thanks. !

That is very interesting


Here are some more images to illustrate this.




What we really need now is some of you out there who have some of these forgeries with this grey effect on them....we need you  to break a couple of lamps and take good  pics and send the pics to me!


11th November 2005

In the cause of strict empiricism scarus offered up  this lamp.






As you can see it has that grey tinge around the nozzle.

But the discolouration is only suopoerficial; it does not go into the fabric.





This is how it should look!

This lamp is genuine.

Sorry T :o(


Additionally, one can see something not often seen, fingerprints on the inner surface of the bottom of the lamp.





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