Usually when someone mentions onion lighting people will think of a much earlier time as lights such as these have been around for what seems like forever. Traditionally, they are globes for lighting that are blown into the shape of a ball, hence the name “onion.” Today, these lights are still popular and are available for lighting both inside and outside of your home.
These lights definitely have more of a colonial look to them and are sure to remind you of a Boston or Paul Revere style. These are definitely not for the contemporary looking home. Although they are very unique, they were initially designed as a light to burn whale oil around the 19th century and were used by railroads and shipping companies.
For Outdoor Use
For exterior purposes the onion glass post lantern is available. These are used both residentially and commercially. These glass casings are very delicate and are housed in a bronze or copper cage for protection. Outside they are often mounted against the house and used as a porch light or one on either side of the door. The cage that the glass is housed in prevents the glass from being broken, and back in the time when they counted on a flame rather than a bulb, the cage also offered protection from the weather elements from blowing the flame out.
And Indoors Too
Onion lighting or lamps are found now in the forms of outdoor lanterns, light posts, porch lights, and garden accessories. Inside of the home they are used for more of an old fashioned design and can be wall mounted, used as indoor lanterns, sconces and candle holders. There are several finishes available as well.
A Modern Touch To The Onion
In an attempt to add a contemporary touch to an old fashioned design, manufacturers have come up with various lighting that is still affiliated with the onion lighting in the sense that it still resembles the onion. The onion grass lamps are available which is a glass blown, onion shaped vase that has colored paper inside of them that come out of the top and actually resemble grass. They are definitely more on the contemporary side but have an outdoor patio look to them as well.
Three Types Of Glass
Onion lighting really resembles something that would be typical in the New England states as you could just imagine someone wrapped in a comforter on a cold winter day, using their onion lamp for reading light. There are generally three different types of the glass for the onion lighting itself: clear, optic and seedy. Sometimes there are ridges in the glass that resemble the lines in a pumpkin – do not expect perfection in the glass itself because you will not find it. It is meant to be that way for its authentic look.
When used with the right décor, these onions lights can really be used for any purpose in any room of the house. Onion lighting is supposed to look weathered as if it were splashed by the sea water and aged, that is part of the beauty of the history of onion lighting.