Monday, February 20, 2012


The kerosene lamp (widely known in Britain as a paraffin lamp) is a type of lighting device that uses kerosene (British "paraffin", as distinct from paraffin wax) as a fuel. Kerosene lamps have a wick and a glass chimney or globe; lamps may be used on a table, or hand-held lanterns may used for portable lighting. There are three types of kerosene lamp: traditional flat wick, central draught (tubular round wick), and mantle lamp. There are three types of kerosene lantern: Dead flame, hot blast, and cold blast.
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. A hand-pump pressurizes air, which forces liquid fuel from a reservoir into a gas generator. Vapor from the gas generator burns, heating a mantle to incandescence and also providing heat to the gas generator.
The first description of a simple lamp using crude mineral oil was provided by al-Razi (Rhazes) in 9th century Baghdad, who referred to it as the "naffatah" in his Kitab al-Asrar (Book of Secrets).[1]In 1846 Abraham Pineo Gesner invented a substitute for whale oil for lighting, distilled from coal. Later made from petroleum, kerosene became a popular lighting fuel. Modern versions of the kerosene lamp were later constructed by the Polish inventor Ignacy Łukasiewicz in 1853 Lviv, and by Robert Edwin Dietz of the United States at about the same time.[2] The question regarding the primacy of these two inventors' versions of the lamp remains unresolved.[3]

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