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Title: Whale Oil Lamp
Identifier: A.6.67
Donor: Mrs. Bellegham
Item Date: 1820-1840
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2007
Location: Museums of Mississauga

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Description: A clear flint glass blown into a mould. It has a hexagonal base, a metal rim, and a double wick in a removable metal holder.

History: The first lamp oil came from whales and was one of the most important industries in the 18th and 19th century. Whale-oil lamps had two tubes because the two flames close together gave more light then two flames separated. Early 19th century styles had an innovative screwed metal collar which contained the oil if the lamp was upset (known as Agitable lamps).

Whale oil came in two forms- ordinary which was obtained from Baleen Whales and Sperm Whale oil which was considered a better lamp fuel. Sperm Whale oil was more expensive and nearly all oil used in British North America during the early 1800ís came from the United States although seal oil from Newfoundland was also available for use in these lamps. The New England whaling industry began to decline in the 1840ís and oil became so expensive that ordinary families could not afford it. Other alternative lighting was developed including Lard Lamps.
Copyright: Museums of Mississauga
Rights & Permissions: Museums of Mississauga
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   Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)