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Novelty Lamp [click here to enlarge]

The Novelty Lamp
Pat. July 16, 1872

Photo: Roger Kessler

Novelty Thumb Wheel [click here to enlarge]

NOVELTY thumbwheel
Photo: Leon McCormack
    innovative lamp burners     
The Novelty Burner
The NOVELTY burner was first produced around 1868 or 1869. It was manufactured in both a #1 and #2 size. The burner incorporates two different patents in it's general construction: Charles C. Warwick's patent number 40,439, granted on October 27, 1863 and Hiram W. Hayden's patent number 73,599, granted on January 21, 1868. Both of these patents were unassigned in the patent papers. See the patent table below for details.

The Novelty Burner
The NOVELTY burner, marked PAT. JAN 21/68 & OCT 27/63 on thumbwheel

The production of the Novelty burner became a hybrid design. From C.C. Warwick's patent number 40,439, the burner gets the perforated tubular slide that forms the external case of the burner. When grasped with the thumb and forefinger, this may be pulled downward to expose the wick tube and wick therein. This facilitates both lighting and wick maintenance (trimming, removal of char, etc.) Inasmuch as this piece is spring-loaded, it must be held in the lowered position to light the lamp. From Hiram W. Hayden's Improvement in Lamps, patent number 73,599, the Novelty gets its curvaceous styling - a chimney holder that is supported by curved arms that extend upward from the burner base or cap. Both patents incorporated fixed chimney holders, secured with fixed tabs and an opposing set screw, that so that the chimney would not have to be removed to light the wick - the positive attributes of this design are covered below.

Holmes, Booth and Atwoods marking
An early model bearing the Holmes, Booth & Atwoods mark on the burner base - burners thus marked are fairly scarce, before they became Plume & Atwood.
Photo: Leon McCormack

An early example of this burner (pictured above) bears the following on the thumb wheel: PAT. JAN 21/68 & OCT 27/63, referring to the aforementioned patents. Another example bears the inscription: HOLMES BOOTH & ATWOODS MFG. CO. WATERBURY, CONN.; more common models are merely marked NOVELTY on the thumb wheel. This is interesting because Israel Holmes, John C. Booth and Lewis J. Atwood defected from Holmes, Booth & Haydens in 1869 to start Holmes, Booth & Atwood, which became The Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company about 1871 after the name was contested by Hayden, who prevailed in the ensuing court case. Did Hiram Hayden grant the production rights to his competition, or did they conveniently just take it with them?

Advertising Cover
Early Postal Cover featuring the Novelty Lamp
Most of the Novelty burners, with the exception of the earliest models, are known to have been made by Plume & Atwood. They appear in advertisements such as the illustrated postal cover depicted here. This particular envelope features the Novelty Lamp on the front and on the reverse: "Novelty Burner with Globe Ring. The only perfect Burner for Globe Lamps" (see image). The actual Novelty Lamp, or more commonly, lantern, is shown along the left margin of the page. This lantern is from the collection of Roger Kessler. This lamp was patented on July 16, 1872 by Lewis J. Atwood and assigned to the Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company. It received patent number 129,509. It used the small zero size Novelty burner. The sun, or "bullet" chimney is held onto the lamp by a spring in the canopy arm support, not by a set screw common to the regular lamp burners.

Novelty Burner w/ Shade Ring
Shown with optional Shade Ring
Novelty Burner w/ Shade Ring
Shown with integrated Shade Ring

The Novelty burner was available with or without a shade ring. The shade rings came in two styles (shown above) - either as an "add-on," option or as part of the burner. The burner on the left is fitted with the optional four inch shade ring. The burner on the right shows the version where the shade holder ring is an integral part of the deflector and cannot be removed. One of the innovative features of the Novelty burner was that it allowed the user to both light or trim the wick without having to remove the chimney from the burner - a particularly nice feature for lamps that also had shades on them. It not only saved time, but also extended the life of the chimneys and shades because they didn't have to be removed regularly, thereby reducing the possibility of accidental breakage.



To view the complete patent, select the patent you wish to view, then click Query USPTO Database. This will take you to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database. You are then just two mouse clicks away from viewing the actual patent. Learn more about the USPTO here.

Patent Image
Pat. No. Patent Date
40,439 Charles C. Warwick 40,439 October 27, 1863
73,599 Hiram W. Hayden 73,599 January 21, 1868
129,509 Lewis J. Atwood 129,509 July 16, 1872
The above images have been reduced from the patent documents.

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