This exhibition is the boast of the Museum
The main element of that is the most valuable collection of paraffin lamps in Europe. They originate from various European and global manufacturers. The exhibition presents the most popular light sources in chronological order: from ancient olive oil lamps to modern candlesticks and candelabras, oil lamps, paraffin lamps and electric lamps in the 1st half of the 20th century. A special arrangement of the historic interiors here evokes the atmosphere of a bourgeois living room from the turn of the century.
The first exposition consists of examples of candle lighting – these are various candlesticks and lanterns from the 17th century to the 1st half of the 20th century. The oldest among them are the churchly candlesticks with a spike, made of pewter, wood, bronze and brass. The diversity of forms we can perceive in the candlesticks and candelabras for domestic use, coming from goldsmiths’ centres of Austria, Germany and the Duchy of Warsaw. Hanukkah lights and candle holders that are used by Jews during religious ceremonies are original because of their shape and purpose.
The next halls present our most important collection completed by the souvenirs of Ignacy Łukasiewicz, creator of the paraffin lamp and the oil industry, who made Galicia famous at the time. The lamps collected in the museum were made in the years 1860-1950 in numerous global factories: Austrian, German, Hungarian, French, English, American and Polish. They represent the successive stages in the development of paraffin lighting, from the model of the first paraffin lamp to the various objects used for lighting residential, public and industrial interiors. The most popular in the collection is the table lamp, named portable too. All the collection makes the individualistic presentation of styles that dominated in arts and crafts during the period of the greatest popularity of paraffin lamps (1860-1920). The lamps produced in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries are the most glamorous. They distinguish themselves from the diversity of shapes, colours and materials and decorative techniques. Especially displayable are the lounge lamps with richly decorated bodies, made of precious materials, topped with glass shades of tulip shape.
A crucial group of exhibits in the exhibition consists of special lamps and lanterns as well as lighting and heating devices, fires, cookers and heaters for technical purposes. Their universal and widespread use clearly shows how important the invention of paraffin was in the progress of civilization in the 19th and 20th century. The last exposition consists of a rich collection of electric lamps. The oldest and the most valuable date from the last quarter of the 19th century.