Roman oil lamp factory discovered in Italy

A pottery workshop for the mass production of oil lamps dating to the 2nd century C.E. has been discovered near Modena, Italy. The complex created pottery lamps which bear the brand name stamped on the bottom. (photo)

Firmalampen, or "factory lamps," were among the first mass-produced products during Roman times and were imported throughout the Empire. There were even recognizable brand names such as Strobili, Communis, Phoetaspi, Eucarpi and Fortis. "It was indeed a commercial success. Fortis gained such a name for its lamps that its stamp was copied and reproduced throughout the empire. It was one of the earliest examples of pirated brands," said Donato Labate, the archaeologist in charge of the dig.