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Antique lighting devices exhibit takes the spotlight

State College, PA–The Centre County Historical Society will unveil a new exhibit titled “Shedding Light on the Past: Lighting Devices of the 18th and 19th Centuries” on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Centre Furnace Mansion (1001 E. College Ave., State College, PA 16801). The exhibit, which runs through April 28, 2013, will be open to the public during regular tour hours on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Admission is free; donations are welcome.

This exhibit will explore lighting devices that existed before electricity, from the late 18th through mid-19th centuries. Objects on display will include early candle holders, rushlights, whale oil and camphene lamps. These objects are representative of lighting devices of that time, and illustrative of adaptations made to take advantage of newer innovations in fuel types and improved safety. While representing a brief period in history, it is one of great technological advancement in the history of lighting.

Featured exhibit objects are from Centre County Historical Society (CCHS) collections, and are generously lent by local collectors, Antiques at John R. Snedden Ltd., the Pasto Agricultural Museum of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Ladies of Battery B, 3rd Pa. Vol., Light Artillery.

This exhibit is a collaboration of CCHS, Richard Pencek, Diane and James Farr, Mary Sorensen and Penn State students Olivia Perdew and Shannon Devlin.

Funding is being provided by Victorian Lighting Works of Centre Hall, and by a grant from the Karen Rugh-Richard Pencek Program Endowment for American Art and Culture at Penn State.

Photography is by Photographer Fred Weber, and students Jennifer Nagel and Jessi

ca Yurinko in the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State. Graphic design is by David Lembeck. Printing is sponsored in part by Jaru Associates, Inc.

As a part of this exhibit, a history talk will be held in April at the Centre Furnace M


  • April 21, 2:00 p.m. – “Early Pewter and Glass”.
    Speaker: Peter Stadler, Pewter Collectors’ Club of America

Exhibit details and photos can be viewed at

The Centre County Historical Society is headquartered at the Centre Furnace Mansio

n, 1001 East College Avenue, State College, PA 16801.  For information, call (814) 234-4779,,or email [email protected] .



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