Bullseye Toleware Lantern

Bullseye Toleware Lantern



Made of japanned tin, this lantern has a swing door to the front fitted with a glass bullseye lens to magnify the light produced.

The door has a coiled clip to fix it and there are a pair of wire handles to the back which fold against the body of the lamp when not in use. These are fixed to a circular disc to the interior to add strength. The lantern can be hung from the wire to the top which may be a replaced. The interior has wax residue which may be covering a low fitting to take a candle; certainly the three indentations to the underside suggests there may be some something to hold a candle in place. The conical top is corrugated to allow the flow of air for the candle to burn whilst protecting it from drafts. There are also some holes to the back-bottom edge of the lamp.

In Ralph Cox's book Nineteenth Century Tinware he reproduces a trade catalogue of 1862 which also refers to this type of Bullseye Lantern as a Police Lantern. John Caspall, in Fire & Light In The Home notes that brass versions were 'apparently made in extensive numbers from the end of the seventeenth century until sometime in the early years of the eighteenth'.

This example is comparable to those in Cox's book but smaller in size. Toleware or japanned tin was used for a number of domestic items in the 19th century and was affordable but could also be decorative. This lamp is very practical, although it gets hot quickly, and the bullseye lens produces a good light. Mid to late 19th Century.


Height 12.7 cm / 5 "
Width 6.35 cm / 2 "
Depth 7.62 cm / 3 "

Some wear to paint. Interior fitting hidden by wax. Hanging wire maybe replaced