Add a Touch of History to Your Decor With Antique Nautical Lamps

Vintage maritime lights are an excellent way to add a dash of style and history to your home or office decor. You will find a broad array of antique ship lights for sale on eBay. Your choices include authentic antique nautical lamps as well as reproduction maritime lights.

What types of vintage maritime lights are there?

Some ship lights were indoors at passageways and the bulkhead. Many outdoor ship lights helped boaters determine which boat had the right-of-way when passing each other in the night. Outdoor maritime lights were displayed from sunset to sunrise. They were displayed in times of restricted visibility like heavy fog. You will find four common maritime lights:

  • Masthead light: This is a white light that shines forward and to the sides of a ship.
  • Sidelights: These are green and red lights that are visible to another ship approaching from the side. The green light is on the starboard side, and the red light is on the port side.
  • Sternlight: This is a white light visible from behind the ship.
  • Indoor maritime lights: These include lighting like passageway lights, pendant lights, hanging lights, bulkhead lamps, or a fresnel minor lamp.
Essentials to look for in antique nautical lamps

The earliest ship lights burned oil, typically whale oil. The besser held the whale oil, and the lamps were mounted on gimbals. Stern lanterns were frequently painted on their exteriors.

You may find antique ship lights that show their wear, which, you may find, adds to their charm. They might be salt-encrusted from ocean water or showing signs of oil and smoke residue from actual use. Many are still functional with either single or dual burners. However, some antique nautical lamps have been converted to electricity, which makes them particularly useful. A ship lamp that has plastic or fiberglass is typically not antique.

What metals are used to make antique ship lamps?

Vintage ship lights for sale were typically made from sturdy metals that withstood corrosion from the sea air. The earliest versions are heavier than later models. Depending on how they have been cared for, you may find some that are polished and gleaming. Others may have a darker patina, which can give them an overall distressed feel. However, they all were constructed from several common metals:

  • Brass, bronze, and other alloys
  • Tin
  • Copper
  • Chrome
  • Iron