Publication: The Boston Daily Globe
Boston, MA, United States
FIVE MILLION OF THEM.
The Number of Lamp Chimneys Yearly
Broken — Where They All Come From.
Nearly 5,000,000 of lamp chimneys are smashed every year in this city. Most of the broken and cracked chimneys are deposited in ash barrels and find their way to the dump, where they are gathered up by rag-pickers and sold to junk dealers, who, in turn, sell the scraps, which are known as "cullet," to the Hemingray glass works at 40 cents per 100 pounds.
The dealers of chimneys dispose of their broken stock, which is about five per cent of that carried in the same manner.
The breakage of lamp chimneys represents the consumption of that article. The lamp chimney business therefore, is of considerable importance to the public.
There are innumerable styles of lamp chimneys on the market - large, small and medium-sized; long, short, round, flat and twisted; thin, thick, narrow, broad, square, globular, scalloped, colored, spotted, etc., from the baby chimney four inches tall by one inch in diameter, to the great big fellow 12 inches tall by 4 ½ inches in diameter, used on the largest lamp in the market, which throws a 360-candle power light and costing from 15 cents cents to $2 per dozen wholesale. They even manufacture combinations of chimneys and globes, while every year brings into the market half a dozen or more new styles of chimneys. Every new lamp requires a special chimney.
Nine-tenths of the chimneys made in this country are manufactured at Pittsburgh, while most of the balance are made at Steubenville, O., while a very few are made in the natural gas regions.
The majority of small ones are imported. Whenever the material in a lamp chimney is of greater cost than the labor the chimney is imported, and vice versa.
All the shapes used in this country are of American design, but are manufactured abroad and brought here and sold at much less than they could be produced here. It is labor that figures in the cost of manufacture more than material.
The old shapes are all moulded while the ordinary shapes are blown and are made of lead glass and lime glass both in this city and the old country. There is a feature that the casual observer would not notice in selecting a lamp chimney with a square top. Two chimneys of almost identical appearance are placed side by side, one of which commands a higher price. A close observation shows that the top and bottom of one is rough, while the other is polished and smooth. The smooth one possesses double the durability of the rough one. The rough one is cut off and cooled, while the other is polished. Only the best quality of glass can be polished in this way.
People make a great mistake in imagining that a heavy chimney is more durable than a thin one. This is not the fact. The thin chimney is far more durable because of its expansion and contraction being more regular.
The non-breakable chimney, which is made chiefly in Illinois, is non breakable in name more so than in reality, though it is much more durable than the ordinary chimney. The difference in the price, however, does not warrant its purchase on the score of the economy, hence very few are sold. The best grade of chimney is known as the pearl top, which is made like any other chimney, but while hot has a crimped ring welded to the top, while the ordinary crimped top is merely placed in a mold and shaped while hot.
These chimneys are much less liable to break than others, are considered well worth the one-third more in price. The great demand to-day is for fancy tops.
There are also a great many chimneys now used on gas burners. On the shelves of a first class lamp store can be found 50 separate and distinct style of lamp chimneys, while every grocery in the country handles them, mostly the common grades.