Talk:Kerosene lamp

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This Page Needs Tidied Up[edit]

It reads like a heated, informal debate between a crowd of oil lamp enthusiasts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 13 September 2009 (UTC)


Question: Can't methanol also be burned in these things? If not, why not? User:Mordac 21:18 5 April, 2006

  • According the information I could find, a flame produced from burning alcohol is a very dim and blue in color. In fact, it is so dim that under normal lighting conditions the flame is almost invisable. Alcohol more useful as a cooking fuel. See sterno. Bige1977 04:39, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
  • User:Bart J. Meijer In some of them, alcohol could be burned, there has been a mantle lamp produced by the Germans that could burn it. Also pressure lamps like the Petromax have been made to run on Alcohol, Petrol and Kerosene.
  • There even have been very succesfull Wick Fed Vapour Lamps been build by Tito Landi, The LampeTitus could safely run on Naphta as well as Alcohol.

Other oils[edit]

No reason that other oils couldn't be used, I'm sure. I think vegetable and whale oils were widely used prior to the 20th century. A history section, or links to appropriate articles, would be useful.

I'm curious whether other oils (vegetable oil) would have the same health impact? I suspect there would be only a partial improvement. --Singkong2005 (t - c - WPID) 09:23, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

  • User:Bart J. Meijer In most cases vegetable oil can not be used, or only a very short ime. With wick lamps, the top of the wick gets so hot that the fuel will undergo a breaking process, leaving hard carbon at the top of the wick. That will cause the lamp to stop burning in minutes. The viscosity also is a problem, the vegetable oil doesn't run well in a normal wick, so the lamp will starve when the fuel level drops.
  • In pressure lamps it has been tried to burn vegetable oil, however the same breaking process will cause the vapourizer to clog very fast with hard carbon crystels. The lamp will damage beyond use in a matter of hours.

Health risks[edit]

Any health risks (apart from fire) to burning "generic" lamp oil in a kerosene lamp in a tent all night long, while camping?


Soot is, of course, an irritant. In a tent, carbon monoxide poisoning is unlikely, but keep it in mind. And, as you point out, fire and burns are, of course, always a hazard with any combustion lamp.
Atlant 18:53, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Greenhouse impact?[edit]

Below is an extract from Light Up the World Foundation and is also relevant here - can anyone add more info? I'd like to see the claims backed up by more than just the one person in one paper. --Singkong2005 (t - c - WPID) 09:25, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

The LUTW website cites a Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory paper, which argues that replacing kerosene lamps with LED lights helps reduce greenhouse gases. The paper says:
The single-greatest way to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with lighting energy use is to replace kerosene lamps with white-LED electric lighting systems in developing countries; this can be accomplished even while dramatically increasing currently deficient lighting service levels. - Mills, 2002[1]
However it should be noted that Mills does not discuss the one-off contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from the production of components such as solar panels.

Merging Petromax with Kerosene Lamp[edit]

Hi All,

I would like to ask not to combine Petromax with Kerosene. We have added a lot to the Petromax article.

A group of historic kerosene lamp collectors, are working on adding a lot of articles to make a complete vieuw on the time that Kerosene, Petrol and Alcohol lamps were used. We are going to add in the future:

  • Aladdin Mantle Lamps
  • Pigeon Lamp
  • Vapalux Pressure Lamp
  • Famos Mantle Lamps

If someone wants to join this group of Historic Lamp Collectors, they are more then welcome to. Please send a note to me

With Regards, Bart J. Meijer 21:54, 1 January 2007 (UTC)Bart J. Meijer

Hi all,

We’ve being updating the Petromax section so I have to agree with Bart on this, the Petromax section is in realty a huge German company that really need to be updated with lots of other information.

Skeeves 22:12, 1 January 2007 (UTC)David

Yes, certainly it is possible to complete this article. The Petromax is not the only pressure lantern in the world. Someone will probably write about the excellent British Tilley or Bialaddin/Vapalux, or about the American Coleman kerosene/gas lantern, present all over the world since the beginning of the XXe century ! (Gerard : Pressure lanterns) Camulogene 11:00, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I think Petromax should keep its own page. Tilley lamp and Coleman Company have their own pages so why not Petromax? Biscuittin 15:27, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

John Irwin[edit]

Shouldn't somebody write about John Irwin's contribution to the development of the kerosene lamp? I'm no expert, but I heard he invented the tubular lamp design.

Social History[edit]

How does a section get added? I think a social history section would be useful, especially for writers and people who do reenactments.

For example: "By 1856 Kerosene was used to light homes in New York (gas came to that city in 1864.)" —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kim333 (talkcontribs) 19:30, 1 April 2007 (UTC).

British english[edit]

This subject deals with a number of phenomena which expose differences between british and american (and other) english language and culture. this article has a particularly british sound to it and i think some work needs to be done to provide local equivalents for specific vocabulary relating to the nomenclature for the oils and distilled fuel products and the manufacturers and resultant regional colloquialisms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Miltonhowe (talkcontribs) 04:02, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure to which sections you refer. To me it seems more American in emphasis. I would support either but we should adhere to WP:RETAIN and WP:ENGVAR because the article does not have a strong national tie. MartinezMD (talk) 00:19, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Dangers section Dubious[edit]

I removed this text because it doesn't appear to be true, based on the Catherine O'Leary article. However, there may yet be truth to the statement that it inspired the Safe bottle lamp. --Mdwyer (talk) 16:03, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Kerosene lamps can cause fires if knocked over. The city of Chicago burned down when a cow kicked a kerosene lamp over into a haystack. This inspired the invention of the Safe bottle lamp, to avoid this hazard.

Kerosene smoke can also cause health problems, especially respiratory problems, and especially if used in enclosed spaces. [2] However, most lamp oil sold today is "ultrapure" and not a hazard when used in candles and oil lamps.

Polish invention in 1853?[edit]

So the Kerosene lamp belongs to Category:Polish inventions[3]? No other country used oil lamps before in 1853 the modern Prometheus Ignacy Łukasiewicz enlighted mankind? Besides, he was a citizen of the Austrian Empire. -- Matthead  Discuß   11:20, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Lukasiewicz contributed to the technology of oil refinery. He did create a lamp, but it was not much different from the vegetable oil lamps of his time. The flat wick kerosene burner was developed by Rudolf Ditmar of Vienna, from whom John H. Austen, sales manager of the North American Kerosene Gas Light Comany took it back to the States in 1856. Production on basis of that burner started in America the next year by Dietz and then many others. (Peter Cuffley, Oil and Kerosene Lamps) The popular Kosmos-type round-wick kerosene lamp was developed by German makers in the 1860's, and the duplex burner by Hinks and Son of Birmingham in 1865. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gasolier (talkcontribs) 18:13, 31 May 2010 (UTC) Gasolier (talk) 18:16, 31 May 2010 (UTC)


this article treats kerosene lanterns as an historical curiosity, whereas they are widely used in developing countries. Their total energy use is similar to the total energy use in residential electric lighting, if you compare worldwide totals for each. To globalize this article, it needs to greatly increase the emphasis on where kerosene lamps are in fact used today. Ccrrccrr (talk) 21:32, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Hot blast and cold blast tubular lamps[edit]

I removed the statements about hot blasting cold blast being brighter than simple lamps. They were unsourced, and I found the following indicating that that is a myth: [4]. That's not a reliable source, so I won't put anything in the article claiming that tubular lamps aren't as bright as ordinary wick lamps, but nor should we have claims to the contrary without any evidence. My reading of the original hot blast lamp patent is that there was not a coherent idea of exactly how it should work or what it should accomplish, and I think that the cold blast lamp patent reflects the design that emerged once Irwin figured out what the real advantage of a tubular lantern was. And that patent clearly explains that the advantage is not greater brightness, but just robustness against flame disturbance from air currents from wind or moving the lantern around. One other reference of interest is this advertisement for the hot blast lamp, which indicates that the same robustness against disturbance is a key advantage. [5] Ccrrccrr (talk) 14:45, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Pressurized lamps[edit]

We need to describe the pressurized kerosene lamp with Welsbach mantle - this is a very important type for lighting in areas without grid electricity. Looking for refrencences now... There's also literature on the economic and health drawbacks of kerosene lamps vs. other forms of lighting. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:07, 23 January 2012 (UTC)