Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ships lamp from Admiral Dewey to Governor Steunenberg circa 1899

Here's what I am describing as an old ships candlestick lamp. It looks like a candle goes in the top and is spring loaded. As the candle burns down, the length of candle in the shaft moves upward. My guess is the metal is brass and has been nickel plated.

This candlestick was given to Governor Frank Steunenberg in circa 1899 by Admiral George Dewey after the United States victory over Spain in the Spanish-American War. The Governor had sent Idaho troops to serve in the war (click to see related blog post with various other links) and the lamp was a small token of appreciation for their service. The candlestick has been handed down through the family and was given to me by my mother, Brenda Steunenberg Richards, quite a few years ago. Having had so few items come down through our family line, this is a very prized possession and connection to that time in history.

For several years, I had the lamp hanging on our living room wall. However, the glass globe would of course be irreplaceable and California earthquakes were making me a little nervous about it. Hence, back into a box with lots of packing material is where the lamp has been hiding out for quite a while.

On the bottom, embossed in the metal, are the symbols for a ships anchor and a compass. Being it came from Admiral Dewey, I would assume a Naval connection. I would like to think that perhaps Dewey "requisitioned" it off his flagship in Manila Bay, the Olympia, after returning home to San Francisco in 1899. Now that I finally got some photos, I will send a few off to the Seaport Museum where Olympia remains at permanent anchorage. I have only seen one other of these same lamps about 5-6 years ago online. It was missing the glass and had no specific identifying information.


In the photo to the left you can see the spring inside the shaft where a candle would go.

Top fitted over the glass
To the right, we see the assembled lamp viewed from the top. 

If you have other clues or knowledge about this type of lamp, I would be mighty pleased to hear from you.


Tad bit over 12"

 Now, if you been paying attention to this blog, you should be able to tell me what the impact of having the Idaho troops serving in the Spanish American war would have on another war that was breaking out in the Coeur d'Alene region.







Cruiser OLYMPIA Living History Crew

Cruiser Olympia at  Independence Seaport Museum

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