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Glass Lamp Chimneys

Information on selecting Lamp Chimneys

How to measure and select Glass Lamp Chimneys

Glass Lamp Chimneys, originating in the 1800’s, were designed for oil lamps. These simple clear glass lamp globes were designed to safeguard the burning flame which was often dangerous and difficult to keep going. Accordingly glass lamp chimneys were invented to keep objects away from the flame, protect flame from drafts and expose the flame’s light. Most glass lamp globes are simple in shape with a predominant bulged area. As the Victorian era progressed and manufacturing techniques improved, more complex designs and patterns were seen  with embossed designs or decorative stenciling. While these decorative examples were seen on some lamps, simple clear glass lamp chimneys remained the mainstay on oil lamps.  Although mostly used in the second half of the 19th century, oil lamps remain popular being used as accent lighting and as emergency lighting when the power is off. Sometimes called glass globes or hurricanes these glass lamp chimneys sit in a burner with tines or a chimney holder. Always put the lamp chimney on the burner first, then slip the shade over chimney to rest in it's holder. 


Torpedo Shaped Light Bulbs are the best option for inside chimneys. These bulbs have a narrow profile allowing maximum air to circulation around light bulbs. In addition this extra space reduces heat build up often seen when traditional light bulbs are used. 
How to measure a glass chimney for an oil lamp
Chimneys are reminiscent of old glass: measurements are approximate, occasional slight imperfections and mold marks are normal and not defects. Shape may slightly vary from picture due to manufacturing processes.

Chimneys are measured bottom diameter by height.

  • Height is a matter of personal taste. Typically the oil lamp chimney extends up thru the middle of the lamp shade and rises 2″-4″ above the top of the shade.
  • Bottom diameter is measured outside edge to outside edge. This measurement is important as it must fit the holder or burner. Most burners have a narrow seat for chimney to rest on. Particular care should be taken if the lamp is used to burn oil making sure the oil lamp chimney bottom fits securely.
  • Measure the diameter of where a proper fitting chimney sits, once it is on the burner. This is best measured with calibers to get an accurate measurement. To test: cut a ring from paper the needed diameter. Slip down over burner to check fit.
  • Fit: The chimney should put slight pressure on the tines of the chimney holder or burner which in turn holds the oil lamp chimney in a stable position. This ensures a proper updraft enabling the burner to function correctly.



Height and shape of chimneys affect the general appearance of oil lamps.

  • Embossed, opal hobnail, and crimp top chimneys are typically used on lamps without a shade.
  • The simpler styles with straight tops are most often used on lamps with a shade.

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