How to Light Oil Lamps

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Oil lamps were traditionally used for lighting homes prior to electricity. These versatile lamps are still used today as backups for when electricity goes out. Oils for these lamps are virtually smoke free and come in a variety of scents. The flames also burn much cleaner than kerosene, which was one of the original fuels. By following a basic set of procedures, you can safely light and use oil lamps.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Oil lamp
  • Fuel
  • Wooden matches

Pull the glass chimney from the oil lamp. Raise the wick using the wick advance knob. Turn the knob in a clockwise direction. The knob is to the side of the brass wick holder.

Advance the wick just above the brass holder about one-quarter of an inch. Trim the wick, using the scissors, level with the top of the brass holder. Trimming of the wick should be performed every time you fill the oil lamp.

Unscrew the brass holder from the glass base. Place the holder to the side. Fill the base with the oil lamp fuel to a level of three-quarters full.

Replace the brass wick holder onto the base. Take a wooden match from the matches box. Strike the match. Touch the flame to the wick.

Replace the glass chimney over the oil lamp. Adjust the flame by turning the wick advance knob, clockwise for a higher flame and counterclockwise for a lower flame. Set the height of the flame so no black smoke is being emitted from the chimney. Place the lamp in a sturdy location so it cannot be tipped over. Be sure there is nothing above the chimney that can catch the flame.

Tips & Warnings

  • Store oil lamps with fuel out of sunlight. Sunlight will cause the fuel to evaporate through the wick Keep the wicks neatly trimmed for efficient operation of the oil lamp.
  • Oil lamp chimneys will become very hot during use. Allow the chimney to cool before adding more fuel.

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References

  • Texas History
  • Back to Basics; Norman Mack Editor; Reader's Digest; 1981
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