Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I retrofitted an old Historic Enterprises lantern with a more appropriate two pane door and removed the candle holder so it can hold this little LED lantern. The original narrow door made even changing a candle difficult and awkward. Unfortunately, I was constrained by only having horn from the original lantern available, so the door panes are asymmetrical. Also, I wish the horn panes provided absorbed less of the light passing through them. Still, it works, and just in time for Pennsic.
It was entirely possible to make sheets of horn so thin and clear that you can read type through it: this was, after all, what was used for hornbooks. Unfortunately, panes of horn of this transparency or translucency are now very difficult to obtain.
The tops of the medieval prototypes for this lantern were probably simply turned from a single piece of wood. That's what was used on lanterns recovered from the Mary Rose, so we should presume that that construction worked reasonably well. In the Lyversberg Passion the dome of the lantern also seems to have simply been turned from wood.
Here is more on medieval lanterns.