Most of the pewter whale oil lamps found today are from the 1820’s to 1850’s, with some from Europe being earlier. Britannia, another form of pewter, became available during this time. This was made up of essentially the same alloys but without lead so it was safer and easier to manufacture. Pewter resembled fine silver but at a fraction of the cost and this made for a widespread acceptance of its use.
The earliest of pewter lamps were cast in complete halves like early brass candlesticks were, then later the lamps parts were spun and much lighter in weight. Pewter was cast into molds that could be used over again and because the molds were costly, they were used for producing more than one object. This is the same concept of why glass candlesticks can be found with matching bases to lamps. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find matching lamps and candlesticks made of pewter as well. It is also interesting that the molds for producing pewter could be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of pieces. Notably, these would be the base, mid section (stem), upper socket, and lamp fonts. Many times you can notice a candlestick stem being used as a lamps mid section.