Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Lantern

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LANTERN, or LANTHORN (lan'turn), a common contrivance used for carrying a lamp or candle in, consisting of a case or vessel made of tin, with sashes of some transparent substance, such as horn or glass. Lanterns are first spoken of by Theopompus, a Greek comic poet, and Empedocles of Agrigentum. Lanterns were used by the ancients in augury. The only representation of an Egyptian lantern that has come down to us probably did not differ sensibly from those spoken of in St. John xviii: 3, where the party of men which went out of Jerusalem to apprehend Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane is described as being provided “with lanterns and torches.”

In architecture, a small structure on the top of a dome, or in other similar situations, for the purpose of admitting light, promoting ventilation, or for ornament, of which that on the top of the Capitol at Washington may be referred to as an example. In Gothic architecture the term is sometimes applied to louvres on the roofs of halls, etc., but it usually signifies a tower which has the whole height, or a considerable portion of the interior, open to view from the ground, and is lighted by an upper tier of windows.