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Agitable Oil Lamp
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Title: Agitable Oil Lamp
Identifier: 981.8.1
Donor: Purchase
Item Date: 1810-1845
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2006
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A lamp with a round base with a raised banded edge. The round column supports a cylindrical oil receptacle while the handle attached supports the column and oil receptacle. There is a threaded brass wick-support on the top. The lamp is painted black with yellow banding around the oil receptacle. On the handle are traces of yellow around the edge of the base.

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 than two flames separated. Early 19th century styles had an innovative screwed metal collar which contained the oil if the lamp was upset. These were called 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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