Candle stick holders, like this one made of enamelled metal, were often used on bedside tables as they were easy to light and extinguish. The handle enabled them to be carried easily from room to room. Except in the kitchen, power points were uncommon in older houses until the 1950s. Bedrooms were lit by ceiling lights controlled by switches near the door. It was convenient to have a candle near the bed if you had to get up in the night.
Candles were a cheap and convenient source of light but they were easily extinguished by a breeze. Lanterns with glass sides provided protection from the wind and could be used outside. They were popular in the days before torches with batteries became available and affordable.
Prior to electricity being available in homes, lamps of this kind were common in many Australian homes. They used kerosene and were called finger lamps to distinguish them from table or hanging lamps. The name came from the way they were carried with a finger or thumb through the handle.
Table Lamps were made from many different materials but had the same basic form. The clear glass chimney protected the flame from being blown out; the wick and chimney were held by a metal frame and the kerosene was contained in a glass or metal bowl. The bowl was attached to a stand so that the light spread across the table. This table lamp has a pressed amber glass bowl and stand and was popular from about 1890 to 1930.
The more affluent the home, the fancier the lights. The kerosene ceiling lamp hanging in the Museum parlour was made by The Miller Company of Connecticut in the USA about 1906. It was an expensive lamp at the time with brass fittings and hand painted china bowl and shade. The lamp has a spring device that enables the lamp to be lowered for refilling and cleaning.