The Ancient Light

In modern society, you might think that lanterns are obsolete. We have flashlights and phones, why in the world would be need lanterns? In truth, these survival tools are essential for the adventurous type and continue to prove their worth. Even if you’re the kind of person that would rather spend their free time at home, rather than out in the wilderness, keeping at least one lantern stored away is something to be considered just in case of a nasty storm. These transportable light sources were crucial to everyday life back before the birth of electricity and even to this day are still widely used. Lighting the way for thousands of years, early designs can be dated back well before the time of the ancient Egyptians. A long time ago, the Chinese would capture fireflies and house them in clear containers for a makeshift style lantern and are still used in traditional religious ceremonies. However, it’s still unclear when and exactly how long ago these tools were first invented.

Types and Styles


Today, you’ll only see a few kinds of modern lanterns, each one having its own look and advantage. It’s up to you what will work best and looking over the details for each will help you in narrowing down your search. Copper lanterns are one of the most popular. This particular metal not only adds elegance to your property but it’s incredibly strong and durable against the harsh outdoor conditions. Other metals require upkeep and will wear down quickly. Another benefit of purchasing a lantern with a copper structure, aside from its strength, is that this metal doesn’t corrode and has a high melting point, perfect for encasing fire. Many metals will begin to rust if a protective coating isn’t placed over it. When you’re out camping or in the woods in general, moisture is often an issue but not with copper.



I wouldn’t necessarily rely on a wood framed lantern for long. Unless heavily stained, wood will deteriorate very quickly. However, they’re still fun and stylish. You can even try making your own for a fun day project. Try getting a thin glass tube and placing a large candle inside after your structure is built. The glass tube will protect the flame of the candle and the wood frame will support the tube. While the light from this little flame wont be big, they still look nice and with a few of them lining the walls of a covered porch, you’ll have a cozy atmosphere for any social gathering.

Steel and Iron

You’ll see many lantern designs made of up these two metals. Steel lanterns are commonly used as wedding decorations, as their sleek look brings a bright and modern feel to the occasion. Wrought iron is is a bit more rough around the edges, more durable and classic than steel. While both look great, this metal requires some upkeep as exposure to rain will cause rusting. With the exception of wood, any of these metals will do just fine to light the way in case of an emergency.

Ancient, elegant and sometimes a life saver, lanterns are a great way to add style to an event or keep you safe on a camping trip. The history of these tools and how they changed society is truly fascinating. Figuring out a method to maintain a constant flame, while protecting the light source from wind and rain took a lot of time and creativity. If anything, finding an antique lantern and displaying it in your home would definitely be a unique conversation starter.