from the fourth century to the late twentieth... A History of the Cone Lamp     By Tom Edson

Late in the third quarter of the first century BCE, the world's first glassblower made the first Cone Lamp. It probably used olive oil with a cork floating a small wick. Early Humans had never set eyes upon such a glowing, jewel-like creation. The idea really caught on and was the main product of glassblowers for the next 700 years, with Lamps being exported all over the Roman Empire. The fall of the empire resulted in near extinction of the Cones, hence the onset of the Dark Ages. A few originals do survive, mostly in museums (who never light them).

The use of Cone Lamps was lost for 1200 years, until, in 1988, a small workshop in southwest Scotland re-invented the lamp, together with a much improved burner and heat-proof glass. This rapidly spawned a range of brackets, stands, and chandeliers which in turn inspired a range of architecture from tree houses to cafes, restaurants, gazebos and gardens which were a guide to the people of the 21st century towards a simpler and closer relationship between themselves, the environment, and the fire, with which the world was being incinerated.

"Ingenious, one of the few truly enlightening inventions of the modern age." Thomas Edson

Objects of this form have been identifed both as beakers and as lamps, and there is evidence that they were used for both purposes A large glass plate from Beth Shearim, Israel, is engraved with a conical vessel and two pitchers, possibly the "kos of benediction," "lagin of wine," and "kiton of water required by Jews for the ritual blessing of wine. On the other hand, a mosaic in the synagogue at Hammat Tiberias, also in Israel, shows a menorah with a conical lamp attached to each of the branches
370. Beaker or Lamp 4th century A.D.                Corning Museum of Glass
Formerly in the Strauss Collection (S 1743). Gift of Mr. Strauss. 68. 1.64. H. 13.3 cm, D. (rim) 7.2 cm. Almost colorless with very pale green tint: Semitranslucent deep blue blobs. Blown; chips of glass picked up on parison; parison reheated and further inflated in dip mold; wheel-cut.
Beaker or lamp: conical. Rim cracked off and ground; straight side, which tapers to very narrow base; no punty mark. About 4.5 cm below rim, one continuous horizontal band of two large oval blobs alternating with two groups of six small oval blobs arranged in triangular pattern (three above two above one). Wall is also decorated with two Continuous horizontal bands of lightly incised lines, each about 0.15-0.3 cm wide, below rim and above blobs. Intact. One side virtually unweathered, the other with thin film of almost transparent grayish weathering .and slight iridescence, as though object once lay on its side, partly buried.
Text and photograph from:
Roman Glass
in The Corning Museum of Glass
Volume One
by David Whitehouse

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York 14830-2253
Standard Book Number 0-87290-139-4
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 97-069053
How we came to it... or Return to North Glen or Reading List or Credo