Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Memorandum Book on October 2, 1769: “Send by James Ogilvie for…glass cylinders & candlesticks.” Glass cylinder shades, or simply “shades,” were tall glass cylinders, open at both ends and bulging in the middle. Often standing more than twenty inches tall, the shades were placed over a lighted candle to protect the flame against drafts and to keep the flame steady. Glass shades were quite common in the southern states where the weather conditions favored more open windows; in New England they were often called “hurricane glasses.”
Jefferson’s daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph mentioned “three glass shades for candles” among the housewares on her 1826 inventory of Monticello’s contents. Unfortunately, because glass shades were often large and difficult to handle, they were easily broken. Not a single glass shade from Monticello has survived.