Patterned to match Whale Oil & Camphene Lamps, as shown in the photo to the left, Spill Holders (also known as Spooners) were used to hold Spills or Splints used for lighting lamps. They are found in clear glass or colored, and sometimes with gold decoration on them.
Spills are thin rolled paper(or wood shavings) and Splints are slivers of wood, both could be lit by a flame such as from a fireplace and then used to light the lamps. Spills were used because matches as we know them were not invented yet. Sand or similar material would be placed in the bottom of the holder to prevent damage to the glass.