It is believed that rush lamps date back to the 13th century as the primary
source of night lighting. The original rush lamps were made of worn out fire
tongs and used to light the blacksmith's shop during the night time hours
because there was never enough daylight to complete the day's tasks. Shortly
after their invention, smaller versions were made for the home.
These lamps were designed to burn rushes which are a type of
grass reed that grows by rivers and streams. When candles were invented, rush
lamps were converted to candle holders. They were brought to early America as a
popular source of light. Original rush lamps can be found in museums, historic
homes and private collections mainly in the Northeastern part of the United
The forging of the lamps requires all 6 basic blacksmithing
skills: drawing, shaping, punching, riveting, twisting and forge welding.
Geronimo was inspired by the rush lamps' simple grace and
beauty to make a few of them to light his own home.
horse heads add interest and personality to mundane articles. The dark
horse on the left adorns a hook for hanging coats or other items and the
silver horse turns a simple key ring into a unique possession.
"Keep your fire clean, your
iron hot and your tongs cool."