Tilley household lamps until 1945

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These Tilley TL 10’s are one of the earliest models by this company. The one on the left, from 1922-later 20’s, in Kenny Connolly’s collection, has the original shade, smooth handle, and a shut-off valve on the left side of the fount. The one in the center, in Neil McRae’s collection, dates to around 1928, also has a brass fount and fluted handle. Second from the right, in Jeff Johnson’s collection, dates to the 1930’s, and has a chrome fount; This table lamp model, like the TL models that follow, are 300 cp, kerosene burning lamps with a 1.5 Imperial pint fount.


This lamp is the Model VL1 vase lamp dating from 1928-32. The vase is the Old Gold color, while the shade is from the 50’s but is comparable to the original.Neil McRae got this lamp from a man, who, as a newly married groundsman at one of England’s great houses, was given the lamp by the lady of the house for their cottage on the grounds. The light would have cost them three to four week’s wages. It was their main source of light for 20 years.


The burner head and old Tilley globe is from the VL1 lamp above. Neil says that Tilley made this “Silent Burner” from 1927 or 28 until no later than 1934. It was used on all indoor models that required a gallery and provision for a shade. It is not much quieter than the normal burner, which lacks the upper flanges. Solder and rivets hold the burner and gallery so that it is not easy to make a replacement of just the gallery.


Another Model VL1, the vase on this lamp is Saxe Blue, another of the six colors produced for this lamp by Bretby art pottery. The vases ares very collectable in their own right. This lamp is in Jeff Johnson’s collection.


Another Tilley lamp, this is model IL37, made between 1930-34. This is a 300 candlepower single burner version of their CL71 outdoor chandelier. It has a sliding counter balance weight on the back arm and a swiveling reflector so that the light can be directed to some extent. A peg under the fount allows for stand mounting although they have never seen this. The lamp is in Roger Price’s collection; the image is courtesy of Neil McRae.


Tilley made the Model CL72 chandelier lamp in the 1930’s. This indoor model has opal shades; the fount holds 2.5 Imperial pints. One or both burners could be used on this lamp; the lamp would run for 10 hrs. using both burners. This lamp is in Jeff Johnson’s collection.

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Two of the “Jacobean” ML96, a table lamp model that was sold between 1932-40. The lamp on the left is in Neil McRae’s collection; from the collection of the late John Findlay. This model was sold with a fancy cloth shade with a deep fringe. The lamp on the right, in Roger Price’s collection, dates to the late ’30’s. Image courtesy of Neil McRae.


Above are two copper Tilley ML93 founts. The smaller fount on the left was used from the late 1920’s to early 1930’s while the larger copper fount on the right was used from the mid to late 1930’s. These founts are in Jeff Johnson’s collection. The smaller fount isn’t large enough to take an internal pump so requires a separate one as below.

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Model IL 33 is a 300 cp kerosene donut lamp that was manufactured between 1933-40. The original fount color was black and smaller diameter – 10″ (left), in Kenny Connolly’s collection, vs. the later 12″ green fount (center and right), in Neil McRae’s collection. The small brass shield soldered to the fount identifies these lamps as being made between 1933-35. The image on the right is of the filler cap which has a provision for a pump attachment to pressurize the fount, a system used in all Tilley donut models.

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These Model TL 11 table lamps date to 1935-40, left, and 1940-46, right; a different, post-1940 valve is visible on the latter. The lamp on the left is chrome plated while the one on the right is painted gold. These lamps are in Neil McRae’s collection.

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These Model TL 13 table lamps (left & center) and TL 14 (right) date from 1935-40 and are thus contemporary with Models 10 and 11 above. The opal shade (left) was also an option on the Model 10 from the early ’30’s to ’46 and on the Models 106/136 below until 1952. This lamp is in Neil McRae’s collection. The lamp in the center, with the Vitreosil shade, is in Herman Mulder’s collection. Model TL 14 in the less common chrome finish and with No 182 globe is in Kenny Connolly’s collection.


This indoor wall bracket 300 cp lamp is Model WL25 which was manufactured between 1935-40. At the time a chrome model cost about $1.25 US more than the standard gold painted model, a significant extra expense. This lamp is also in Neil McRae’s collection.


Another Tilley wall bracket lamp, this is Model WL27. While bracket lamps were manufactured by Tilley until the 1960’s, this lamp dates to the 1930’s. This lamp has an original Vitreosil globe and is in Jeff Johnson’s collection.

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These Tilley TL10’s, in Neil McRae’s collection, were probably made during WWII. The one on the left is brass but lacks the pressure indicator which would have saved material. The lamp in the center and its gallery (right) are steel construction. Tilley used steel for the Hospital lamp and PL53 lanterns from 1938 but never for table lamps so this lamp is a mystery. The gallery is a unique design that may not have been made by Tilley.


Above is a cut-away view of a Tilley pressure indicator. The lamp user only sees the top of the moveable piston, 1, within the housing protruding through the top of the fount, 2. As air is pumped into the fount, pressure on the copper air bladder, 3, causes the piston, 4, to rise which the user sees from above as it approaches an equal level with the sleeve to indicate adequate pressure. The late Steve Winicates helped in creating this cut-away view that is now in Neil McRae’s collection.

© 2000-2023 Terry Marsh