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Title: Kerosene Lamp
Identifier: L.9.67
Item Date: 1850
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2006
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A tin lamp, painted dark red. The round base is hollow with a small looped handle. The wick and its metal holder are attached to the base and guarded by a round shield, pierced with a row of holes. The device to raise or lower the wick protrudes outside of the shield. An arched shaped box swings over top of the base and the wick goes through a round hole in the box's bottom. There is a metal door with a clasp on the front of the box which is decorated with concentric grooved circles. Originally a pane of glass may have fit behind the door. The chimney on top of the lamp is covered with a fluted dish of metal. There are small holes around the edge of the chimney. History: Dr. Abraham Gesner of Nova Scotia first made and introduced Kerosene in 1846. It was made by distilling bituminous coal or oil shale at a low temperature as opposed to distilling it at a high temperature which made illuminating gas. Kerosene, also called coal oil, was available on the market by 1855 but was quite expensive so it did not become popular until after 1860 when petroleum, a cheaper material, was used to make Kerosene rather than coal. Kerosene became almost the universal source of domestic lighting in the 1860ís and 1870ís. In 1856, the first lamp especially created to be used by kerosene was introduced and was called a Vienna burner. The wick for this lamp was ribbon shaped and could be moved up and down by a thumb-turned external wheel. It also has a distinct dome-shaped draft reflector which concentrated the rising draft on the burning wick so that it burned evenly. Maintenance of kerosene lamps was relatively easy although it would have been a daily chore to trim the wicks and clean the glass chimneys along with periodically refilling the lamps with kerosene. This would have been done by a servant or younger members of the family.
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Related Links:
   Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)