Tuesday, December 8
Victorian Paraffin Brass Lamp
JAMES YOUNG STARTED A BUSINESS IN ENGLAND IN 1850's HAVING BEEN GRANTED PATENTS IN ENGLAND, CANADA AND USA, FOR A PROCESS TO PRODUCE PARAFFIN(KEROSENE). LATER HE STARTED MANUFACTURING LAMPS AS AN EXTENSION TO HIS PARAFFIN BUSINESS AND DEVELOPED THE CENTRAL DRAUGHT COURT LAMPS. HE DIED IN 1883 AND THE COMPANY NAMED AFTER HIM FINALLY SHUT THE DOORS IN THE 1920's.
James Young, in 1847, discovered a refining process, which produced paraffin and marked the era of oil lamps as a means of lighting both inside and outside the home.
Its popularity coincided with the reign of Queen Victoria. The introduction of the flat wick using paraffin, with its cog wheel adjustment, and a design which produced good aeration of the flame, was the basis for the expansion of the lamp industry.
An advancement was made in 1865 when Joseph Hinker placed two flat wicks side by side and invented the Duplex burner, which made the lamps both more reliable and more efficient. The effect of the two lighted wicks close to each other increased the brightness of the flame.
The burner was covered by an oval bulge chimney, which had to be fitted with the wicks parallel to the length of the bulge.
These improvements would certainly make the lamps more reliable on draughty nights in the home and in the workshops on dark winter afternoons.
With the coming of the central draught burner, that is a lamp with a tubular wick and a hollow draught tube in the center, a more efficient flame still was produced. The central draught lamps had spreaders or air diffusers of many different types fitted into the central tube. Without the spreader these lamps would not function properly and would smoke if the spreader was damaged.
The glass chimney played an essential part in producing a flame. The main source of lamp chimneys was Saxony - many of them marked, ' Best Saxony Crystal.' Glassware also came from France and Belgium but during the First World War chimneys of an inferior quality were made in Britain.
The most critical factor of an oil lamp was the draught supply, which was calculated very accurately. The chimney, by the size and location of the bulge, and the overall height, was the most crucial factor.
The globe was the additional glass for the diffusion of light, but the chimney was the most important factor in the functioning of the lamp. Many ornamental chimneys were made which were used without globes, on the cheapest type of table lamp.
The maintenance of the fire and the lighting of the lamps in the Victorian parlour were a ceremony in themselves.
The lamp was lit. It was a round based lamp which stood on the table and had two wicks, which were trimmed and turned up a little and then lit with a paper spill. Next a glass chimney was fitted over the flames so that they burned bright and clear with no smoke, and finally a round glass globe with a pattern on it was lowered over the chimney. As the globe was lowered a pattern of flowers spread across the ceiling.'
In between the flat wick burners, and the central draught type, were lamps called Kosmos, which took a flat wick which came out circular in the burner. The draught was still taken from the sides of the burner as in the flat type. The burner had no spreader like the central-draught type. These Kosmos lamps were confined in use to small hand lamps and reading lamps.
Even the simplest of households in Victorian times had several lamps for different purposes, as almost every room had to have its own lamp. The parlor or front room would have a Duplex lamp with a globe, or perhaps a central-draught lamp.
The dining room would have a Duplex lamp in a cheaper version, while in the kitchen the table lamp would have a one inch burner with no globe or perhaps a small hanging lamp. For bedrooms small hand lamps were normal. Night lights were provided for the children and a small wall lamp would be in the toilet.
Pressure lamps and lanterns were made by firms experienced in the making of pressure stoves, for they used the same principle as a Primus stove. The British Veritas, Tilley and Aladdin accounted for a large part of the market.
Following the crude inverted flame lamps with naphtha as fuel came the inverted pressure lamps. These were widely used for market stalls and traveling fairs.
All the oil lamps had to be cleaned frequently, wicks trimmed, founts filled with oil and glasses and globes washed and polished. Many of the lamps were made of brass, the polishing of which added to the time spent on maintenance. Special tools were available for maintainance.,