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The L&B Lamp Belge or Belgian
by Alex Marrack
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Centre Draught Oil Lamps English and European
English Lamp Belge
Photos and commentary by Miles Stair
Patented in 1884
and manufactured in Liege by Lempereur & Bernard,
L&B. These were widely sold in the USA by the Belgian
Lamp Co, and marked on the winder knob L&B with a
smiley-sun face. In the UK they were mainly sold by
Lewtas of Manchester, the knob marked LM with a smiley
sun face, and marked on the fount or filler cap 'Lampe
Nationale'. A few are also found in the UK marked
In the UK there was another, very different 'Lampe Belge'
sold by the Midland Lighting Co, which is made in
England, and although similar (it has a smiley face sun
winder), with a similar looking burner, no parts are
interchangeable. (This lamp will be covered later.)
shown is a L&B marked one, in the form of a
patterned brass drop-fount which fits into a
bottom-ventilated ceramic vase to form a table
lamp. Spares available for these lamps include
wicks, chimneys, and four inch base
lamps have a slightly small chimney crown, some
round English chimneys have a rim at the base which
makes them too tight in these lamps, so they need
to be checked before purchase.)
pictures of the burner show correct placement and
proportion of the spreader, also correct relative
height of the support pin and inner/outer wick
tubes. These lamps burn with a taller, narrower
more 'wine glass' shaped flame than most
[Click on photos to enlarge
These lamps have a fixed steel
pin in the centre of the burner. This is in turn
supported by a brass 'tripod' inside the draught
tube. The top of the pin stands approx level with
the top of the wick tubes. The spreader has a
tubular leg that slides over this pin. Lamps often
have this pin ripped out to accommodate electric
(Note from Miles: The pin
system provides for very good draft around the
flame spreader, but it is also the reason why the
flame spreaders are often lost and Alex has to make them; the
flame spreader is not attached to the lamp, it just
sits over the pin. Tip over the lamp and the
flame spreader falls off.)
and commentary by Miles Stair
L&B began making lamps prior to their 1884
patent for center draft lamps with flame spreaders.
Indeed, L&B produced limited numbers of center draft lamps
in 1883. These lamps are rare and are obvious due to
the different shape of the font than subsequent lamps.
The US Patent of Dec. 29.1884 by Joseph Lempereur and
Lambert Bernard of Liege, Belgium (US
Patent No. 333237) was clearly after the January 14,
1884 timble flame spreader patent of Leonard Hinkle (US
Patent No. 292114). However, evidence exists (below)
that L&B were making lamps using both pedestal and thimble
flame spreaders in Europe prior to the introduction of flame
spreaders in the US. Emil Wild of Berlin patented a
lamp, chimney and flame spreader on August 19, 1884 (US
Patent No. 303774).
The lamps shown below are mine
except where noted.
20''' L&B center draft, 1883.
Note shape of font.
|Above, signed cast brass
foot. Below, dated flame spreader.
||Burner with flame spreader on
1883 20''' Center Draft lamp. Note wick winder is
L&B 1879 side draft Matador.
The font is the same as the 20''' above, missing only the
|L&B 1879 14''' side draft
with thimble flame spreader.
||L&B 1879 - 1883 Flat
wick lamp. Note upper half of font shape.
Size comparison of the lamps above.
|Later model 20''' center
Same model, embossed
|1883 L&B, embossed,
Owned by Peter Brickell.
|L&B 20''' hanging lamp
||L&B hand lamp, Owned by Peter
||15''' L&B side draft.
20''' Matador compared.
At right, two L&B 20''' Matador burners.
The burner on the left has
wick knob indicia "Matador 20''' ". The base of
the burner is marked Matador 20''' * Importe D'Allemagne."
This burner was apparently for the French market.
The burner on the right is
marked on the wick knob "Lampereur & Bernard" with a small
smiley face. This burner was apparently for the
At right, the two burners above apart.
There are minor variations
between the burners but that could reflect different years
Click on the photos to
There are more photos of L&B burners on the
Center Draft & Side Draft Lamp Wick Assembly page.
L&B US Patent #333,237, Dec. 29.1885.
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Articles by Alex Marrack:
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