Oil lamps, although mostly a thing of the past, are beautiful. The older the lamp the more intricate the detail and the more unique the oil lamp is. I myself have a beautiful collection of antique to semi-antique oil lamps that sit throughout my home. They are still filled with fuel and have new wicks so that when the power goes out we are not left sitting in the dark. They are also a great conversation piece. When people come to visit they are always amazed that I have such lovely old oil lamps. Most people say, "I didn't know these still existed". I don't know where exactly they think they all went, but nonetheless they are impressed.
If you would like to start collecting your own antique oil lamps or Victorian lamps or even old even copper lamps, rest assured it is fun and challenging. The best part is that it doesn't have to cost you a fortune. Look at it as your own treasure hunt. The best place to find your lamps are thrift stores and yard sales. Keep your eyes open for estate sales or barn sales, as these usually have many hidden treasures to add to your lamp collection. Look in the back corners and in storage boxes and trunks where others may not think to look. You may also look at antique stores and specialty shops; however, they almost always charge more.
There are many uses for your lamp collection besides just for looks. You can take an oil lamp or the hanging oil lantern and fill them with citronella oil and use them as a garden lamp or to give nice soft lighting to an outdoor evening dinner party and keep the biting insects away. So they look beautiful hanging in your yard or sitting on outdoor tables and serve multiple purposes, including decoration, lighting and cutting down on bothersome bugs, not to mention being a great conversation starter for your guests. And as I mentioned, they are great in a power outage.
There are also of course torch lamps, which are not old enough to be antique, however, there are many that have been designed to look antique, so they will fit in with your theme. There are several designs of the outdoor torch lamp. These designs range from bamboo to wrought iron to fancy brass to glass shades. The torch lamp is almost always filled with citronella oil and is mainly used to keep the bugs away.
To start any lamp collection you have to start with a vision and build on it. Go bargain or treasure hunting in your spare time. Make it a fun project rather than a chore. Enjoy yourself and let your lamp collection reflect your personality.