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  • Oil lamp

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    Group of ancient lamps (Hellenistic and Roman) Simple contemporary Indian clay oil lamp during Diwali Antique bronze oil lamp with the "Chi Rho", a Christian symbol (replica) Sukunda oil lamp of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal Oil lamp of Korea Modern Oil lamp of Germany with flat wick An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and continues to this day, although not commonly anymore. Oil lamps are a form of lighting, and were used as an alternative to candles before the use of electric lights. Starting in 1780, the Argand lamp quickly replaced other oil lamps still in their basic ancient form. These in turn were replaced by the kerosene lamp in about 1850. In small towns and rural areas the latter continued in use well into the 20th century, until such areas were finally electrified and light bulbs could be used. Sources of fuel for oil lamps include a wide variety of plants such as nuts (walnuts, almonds) and seeds (sesame, olive, castor, flax). Also widely used were animal fats (butter, fish oil, shark liver, whale blubber, seals).

  • Kerosene lamp

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    Swiss flat-wick kerosene lamp. The knob protruding to the right adjusts the wick, and hence the flame size. A kerosene lamp (also known as a paraffin lamp in some countries) is a type of lighting device that uses kerosene (paraffin) as a fuel. Invented by the Polish pharmacist Ignacy Łukasiewicz in 1853, kerosene lamps have a wick or mantle as light source, protected by a glass chimney or globe; lamps may be used on a table, or hand-held lanterns may be used for portable lighting. Like oil lamps, they are useful for lighting without electricity, such as in regions without rural electrification, in electrified areas during power outages, at campsites, and on boats. There are three types of kerosene lamp: flat-wick, central-draught (tubular round wick), and mantle lamp. Kerosene lanterns meant for portable use have a flat wick and are made in dead-flame, hot-blast, and cold-blast variants. Pressurized kerosene lamps have a gas generator and gas mantle; these are known as Petromax, Tilley lamps, or Coleman lamps, among other manufacturers. They produce more light per unit of fuel than wick-type lamps, but are more complex and expensive in construction and more complex to operate.

  • Gas mantle

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    Coleman white gas lantern mantle glowing at full brightness An incandescent gas mantle, gas mantle or Welsbach mantle is a device for generating bright white light when heated by a flame. The name refers to its original heat source in gas lights, which filled the streets of Europe and North America in the late 19th century, mantle referring to the way it is hung above the flame. Today it is still used in portable camping lanterns, pressure lanterns and some oil lamps. Gas mantles are usually sold as fabric items, which, because of impregnation with metal nitrates, form a rigid but fragile mesh of metal oxides when heated during initial use; these metal oxides produce light from the heat of the flame whenever used. Thorium dioxide was commonly a major component; being radioactive, it has led to concerns about the safety of those involved in manufacturing mantles. Normal use, however, poses minimal health risk.

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