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Samuel Davis (1806-1895)

DavisLamp 300wSamuel Davis was born in New Holland in Lancaster County in 1806. After marrying and starting a family, Davis moved to Mifflintown in Juniata County where he operated his tinsmith and coppersmith business and owned a share of an iron foundry. He returned to New Holland in 1855. Davis's Lard Lamp was considered enough of an improvement upon earlier lamp designs that Davis was granted a United States patent on the design.

Tinsmiths - craftsmen who worked with tinned sheet iron - were often quite inventive. Before the era of plastics, tinned sheet iron proved to be a useful, long lasting, malleable material that could be shaped and bent and cut into any number of practical and decorative applications. Davis's Lard Lamp was considered enough of an improvement upon earlier lamp designs that Davis was granted a patent on the design.

Davis's lamp became popular and sold around the country, but only for a short time. Despite the inventiveness of its design, the lamp was unable to outshine the continuing increase of the use of coal and other oils for lighting. Lard Lamps fell out of popular use by the end of the 1850s. Davis retired from his trade in 1870 and passed away in 1895.

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For hundreds of years Lancaster has helped to shape the story of America.

 This program made possible through the generous support of

the Richard C. von Hess Foundation

&

the National Endowment for the Humanities

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