Oil Lamp Hanging - The Practical And The Romantic

Hanging an oil lamp safely and efficiently, whether for a romantic evening or emergency lighting. Includes cleaning and fueling, wick adjustment and new lamp preparation.

Neccessary items in any household not many years ago, oil lamps are still available new for a very low price (about $15 and up), attesting to the lasting romantic and practical value of this beautiful appliance.

'Back when' most homes were lit with 'coal oil' lamps, you wouldn't hear anyone calling them romantic, but burning an oil lamp is akin to burning candles when it comes to pleasant and quiet settings. Safer than open flame candles, an oil lamp has a warm glow that softens shadows and intrigues the eye. A softly flickering flame and mysterious shadows can be the ultimate romantic experience, but not when it's ruined by a poorly burning lamp.

Lamp oil, a 'step up' from burning kerosene ('coal oil' to our grandparents), is still a petroleum product, only more refined to reduce soot and smoke. You don't need to buy the most expensive lamp oil, but you might want to look at the scented and colored ones for the romantic value - or the mosquito repelling value of citronella scented oil!

Kerosene can still be used - that's what these particular lamps were developed for, but be aware that the odor is not pleasant to most people, and it can create more soot than better quality lamp oils.

A properly trimmed wick helps reduce soot and smoke, also. Before using a wick for the first time, trim the corners just a little, so that the center of the wick is 1/16 to 1/8 inch higher than the corners. Be careful to get it even, as this is what will center the flame. Ideally, the flame will burn straight up the center of the chimney, staying clear of the shoulders.

Lamp chimneys, those glass globes that sit on top, must be cleaned with care. Use a piece of wadded newspaper, dry, to clean it of soot. When it gets dusty and needs more serious cleaning, hand wash it in dish detergent with warm water, rinse with hot water and dry with a lint free cloth.

To fill the lamp, remove the chimney and unscrew the burner and remove completely.

screw. Fill the oil bowl 1/2 to 3/4 of the way, but never more. Put the burner back on and make sure the wick is adjusted so that it's just above the top of the burner. If you're using a new wick, allow the lamp to set for 15 to 30 minutes to soak up the oil before attempting to light the lamp.

Light the wick and replace the chimney. If the lamp smokes, you'll have to adjust the wick with the adjusting screw on the side of the burner. NEVER lower the wick until it's below the top of the burner when it's burning. If you get the flame into the oil bowl, an explosion is very likely to result.

Practically speaking, oil lamps are the perfect solution for emergency lighting situations - power outages, weather disasters and any situation where you can't just turn on a light. Most lamps will burn for hours and hours on one refill, making them inexpensive to operate, too.

For the collector, the decorator, the historian, the backwoodsman, the romantic and the practical; for patio parties and romantic suppers; for lighting a getaway cabin to a southern veranda, the practicality and romanticism of oil lamps can't be beat.

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