Ask the Old Guy – April/May/June 2019

Dear Old Guy,


My husband came across this miniature oil lamp while cleaning out the basement. We have had it for years and would like to know more about it. It has the name Orion embossed on the top and Made in Germany stamped on the bottom. It is approximately six inches tall.


 Any information that you could provide would be appreciated.
Sue  MacDonald,


Hi Sue,


Your picture of the oil lamp brought back an old memory for me. What you have is known as a Skaters’ Lamp. I was raised in Scarborough and as a teenager in the sixties I remember going skating at a place called Little Switzerland. It was a unique setting just off Markham Road in Scarborough where you could skate on a winding river surrounded by pine and cedar trees all decorated with lights while listening to classical music and sipping hot chocolate. The property is probably all condos now. That is where I first saw a skater’s lamp. It was being carried by an older lady and it lit up the trail while she skated on the river.  The visual experience is still fresh in my mind.


Your German skater’s lamp would have been made between 1890 and 1910 by the Orion Lamp Company. It is missing a handle that was made of the same wire that protects the glass chimney and hooks into the tiny holes at the top of the lamp. These lamps are very collectible and I have seen them sell in the $75 to $150 range if complete and depending on condition.
Thanks for the email and the memory.
The Old Guy