Oil Lamps & Candles for Reed Organs
Since many antique pump organs were built with round, wooden, candle holders, it probably makes sense to take a
second and talk about their use.
When pump organs were popular, electricity in American homes was still a few years
off. So in order to read sheet music and see the keyboard, light was generally provided by candles or oil
Although we tend to call them oil lamps, they were typically fueled with kerosene - it burned clean and was
affordable. Candles also burned clean and were inexpensive as well.
It's probably easy for us to imagine that some candle holders were used to hold a wide variety of things, such
as food and drinks - including pipes and cigars. However, many of these candle holders made excellent plant
holders. Although candles were commonly used, oil lamps were the most popular because they provided the most
Today many pump organ owners tend to use a wide variety of decorative candles, usually the short wide ones. On
the other hand, some owners used new or antique oil lamps, which can come in just about every shape and size
(peanut oil, or paraffin is usually used to operate them.)
On occasion, I’m asked about what candles should be used on pump organs. So I thought it might be helpful if I
added a some “links” to a few candle stores, including stores that sell oil lamps. My
"links" page can be found on my website's front page, in the information directory on the left, or just click