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Pioneer Living- Around the House- Lamps and lighting


Mother

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This is some information I wrote for our local museum handbook. I thought it might get us started on this thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts and instructions or questions.

 

Oil Lamp lighting and safety

 

Please handle all lamps with care to avoid accidents. Lamps are very hot when lit and break very easily, especially the antique ones, as the glass becomes brittle with age. Never place the lit lamp in a position where it will fall, touch a combustible surface or where people will be able to get easily burnt by them or knock them off. Do not leave lit lamps or candles unattended at any time. Keep Fire extinguishers available in every room you use a lamp or candle, usually by the door for easy access. Know where they are before lighting any fires in either lamps or stoves and don’t hesitate to use them if an accident occurs.

 

Examine the lamps to familiarize yourself with them. Check to see there is oil in them. To fill the lamp, remove the globe if there is one and the chimney (glass that surrounds the flame). Check to make sure there is a wick in the center of the metal mechanism that holds the chimney.

 

Filling lamps:

Set the lamp on newspaper or paper towels. Unscrew the entire metal mechanism, each of these could be different looking and some will unscrew to the right instead of the usual left. The wick will come out with the mechanism and will be wet with oil if the lamp was filled. Lay it where it won’t harm any surface. Using lamp oil (some will take kerosene) slowly fill the lamp through the opening, being careful not to spill the oil down the sides. Some lamps come with small funnels for this purpose but not all of them do. Never fill the lamp over three quarters full. Carefully wipe any spills and replace the metal mechanism onto the lamp and tighten just firmly.

 

Replacing wicks:

To replace the wick in a lamp, remove the metal mechanism, remove the old wick by turning the adjusting knob on the side until the wick is released. Replace it by pushing the new wick up from the bottom and turning the knob until the wick is at the correct height. It will take a while for the wick to soak up the oil for lighting.. (See below for operating) Wicks should be trimmed before each use by cutting them with a scissors. The top of the wick can be cut in a rounded half circle; trimming it to slant in one direction; or to a point in the center. Each of these cuts will give a different type of light. You may want to experiment which works best for you in your situation.

 

Operating Lamps:

 

Make sure lamp has oil in it and the wick is long enough to reach the oil in the bottom. Remove the chimney (and globe if it has one) from the lamp before lighting. Check to make sure the wick is trimmed and no large about of ash remains on the tip of it. (see trimming above) Make sure there is no lamp oil spilled on the sides of the lamp. Raise the wick with the knob on the side just sufficient enough to hold a match to the top. If the wick has been in the oil for some time, there should be plenty of oil on the wick to catch the flame. If the top of the wick is dry, a drop or two of lamp oil may be placed on it before lighting. Do this by dipping a small stick or used match stick into the oil in the bottom of the lamp and dripping it onto the wick. Turn the flame down low and carefully replace the chimney (and globe if there is one), making sure the prongs hold the chimney secure on ALL sides. Again adjust the flame to desired height. Please remember that lamps give a SOFT glow, not a bright light. Mirrors or reflectors used behind the lamps will intensify the light to the room. Wicks that are turned up too high will only make the chimney black. A lower flame usually gives a better, more steady light. Please remember to place the lamp in a safe spot. (see top of page)

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't know if this is appropriate here or not. Please move to a more appropriate spot if not. I made a candle lantern in a workshop put on by a historic museum. The pattern dates from the 1830's in pioneer Illinois. I used modern tools to do it, however - drill press, router, etc. Its joints are mortise and tenon. It is really very simple. I later did a rough sanding job and finish, as I like its primitive look. This is NOT fine furniture.

 

The lantern is made of pine, with a copper deflector at the top for the chimney. The handle is fashioned from copper wire. The most challenging thing about making this, for me, was glass cutting. This was my first attempt at glass cutting. I butchered a bit of glass!!!

 

One of the glass sides slides up as a door, so that you can easily replace candles, and light and extinguish them.

 

Here are two views of the lantern:

 

PhotosAroundtheHouse023.jpg

 

PhotosAroundtheHouse022.jpg

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Hi cowgirl, thats a great candle lantern. I am sure you will enjoy it alot. I am sitting here, just checked over my bob daypack, and inventoried it. Added a tinder kit and some matches in a ziplock bag and more dehydrated food to it.

We are definitely expecting lots of rain in our county and the one to the north. One to Three inches an hour here in the adirondack state park where I live. I may be dealing with a bad flood and flash flooding going on in my neighborhood, which did flood all the way up the first floor five or six years ago. We have flashflood warnings out for this afternoon 2 pm EST to the evening hours and I live by two creeks and the river that goes through the main valley.

I know there is a shelter usually at the county sheriffs dept., and the nursing home ( supposedly). But I can also take my tent and sleeping bag with me and camp, but the shelter is a better option for keeping dry and not getting cold and wet. Besides the only place I could camp in that I know of would require going through a low spot on the main road here where a pond is at the other end of town. That would obviously flood. Maybe I could set up my tent in a roofed over barbeque area behind the museum. ( Nothing like sleeping by a cemetary! )

If there is no shelter available for some unprepared reason at the county buildings, I guess thats what I would do.

I would also not wait til the water is so high and fast I couldnt get through it. All the septic and electric would be in bad shape if we get flooded. There are no levees here either.

So, hopefully there is a shelter.

In the past flood I know they evac'd everyone, even when it was chest high water because they had to turn off the electric. One acquaintance of mine across the street had to be forced to leave because he was too stubborn. I don't have any friends in town I could stay with. I informed my son and best friend, both in other states, so they would know if I am not online, and I would try and get word to my son tomorrow.

I was a real dummy and didnt get more mins on my tracfone this month when I got paid. I have to go through the mha or police probably to notify him of how I am, if need be. After this, having at least 100 mins on my cell is going to be SOP!!!!

 

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Cowgirl, that is very close to what the SCA uses for lighting at their events. They are very handy and a lot safer to use than just a candle. Somewhere there's a post on tin can lantern here. I'll try to find it and copy it here or the link to it so we can have the lighting all in one place for references. Maybe we should find the info on cooking oil lanterns too and bump it up here. I know that Lehman's has them and the wicks for them.

 

Thanks for posting these pictures as they are a lot easier to see how the lantern is made compared to just instructions.

 

bighug

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Good post You got it all.

 

But here is a hint that I try to do and YES Even I mess up and forget at times?

 

 

***Fill your lamps in the DAYTIME!

I can't tell you how many time I forget and then wehen we want to get some light when we get home at night The first thing I have to do is refill the lamps. This is NOT easy to do with a flashlight!

Also DON"T clean a lamp glass right after you had it lite. If it is even a bit warm you will break it when the water hits it. We even have a special bottle bush (soft) that we use just for cleaning the glass so we don't scratch them. An Old wich or old fluid will make you light low and flicker, Keep them trimed or do like me whenever I refill them I pinch the wick and pull. the 'soot' comes off on my fingers and then the lamp burns a lot better.

 

Michael2

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OK. Now the truth is coming out. I am a candle nut. I love lights that aren't electric, whether oil lamps (I have a few of those) or candles. Since I don't like open flames in the house, I have ... a few ways to contain the flames. triberofl

 

I have a pierced tin candle lantern. I consider it great for mood lighting. Few lights are prettier for dinner. Yes, when we have a black-out, I still like pretty! It makes it seem much more festive. This lantern sends out tiny rays of light all around the room, making an incredible display. The photo below is taken in broad daylight, unlit. So, it doesn't do the lantern justice at all.

 

PhotosAroundtheHouse024.jpg

 

I have many sturdy glass containers for candles - I like my glass candle holders to be substantial. I'm not going to flood the site with photos of those! However, when you find a glass container, consider its many uses.

 

 

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OMG - cowgirl, I love that candle lantern!! My dad is extremely handy with his hands and is always looking for things to build for me as gifts. I'll have to send him your post!

 

Edited to clarify -- that wood and glass lantern you made -- it's lovely!

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Cowgirl--those are just AWESOME!

 

My eldest has been after me about making some of both (the tin punched and the wood/glass) because one of the old German homesteads that we like to visit at Christmas has their walkways lined and lit with them--which I just can't describe for the loveliness! Any idea where we might find some project notes/guidelines for making our own?

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Here ya go.. plans for a Candle lantern

 

 

http://jointer.oldetoolshop.com/lantern1.html

 

and here is a place to buy plans http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/indexto...?prodid=LL-OS-2

 

a cute tin can punched lantern craft project:

 

http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-craft...p;craftid=10659

 

and a video of making a birdhouse shaped punched tin lantern http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/punched-tin...tern/index.html

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cowgirl, Jack, Crickett, everybody! You are all feeding my secret vice!!! (Well, one of them.)

I LOVE cnadle light, lantern light, fire light of any kind! (As long as it's controlled ,of course.)

I have made any yet, but I have purchased several of each kind on e-bay.(Don't shoot me)

So, now you've made it so very clear that this 'light' is not just my want. It's a real, bonified NEED. Oh joy!

I want the plans. I want instruction. and guidance. and tips. and, oh, I don't know! Whatever will get me there!

On the downside, I guess I no longer can excuse myself fromlearnign to make my own candles, huh? Oh well....Anyone know the recipe?

Can you use the cans that have the white lining?

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Hi Grace,

 

Candlemaking is actually pretty easy once you learn. Here is the candlemaking 101 for ya.

 

You can actually use any tin that is sturdy, but be sure the lining of the can is the regular color of the inside of a can. With coated linings you never know what it is coated with and you want to be sure NOT to use flamable material. A jelly jar is actually perfect to use. Sturdy and glass. Plus, this is what candlemakers usually use.

 

Next step is to get your wax, you may want to start with regular parafin wax ( you could start with Soy, it only requires one pour). You can go to any craft store to get your supplies. This is what you will need

 

Wax - you can start out with a few lbs.

Wick

Scent

Color

Jar

Thermometer

 

To melt your wax use a double broiler style. Simply, that can be a cornell white pot with a 2 lb. glass pyrex measuring cup, the pyrex is put in the pot and the pot has water in it. Melt the wax, once it is melted you need to check it with your thermomter to make sure it's not to hot. Always keep your wax under 160 degree's- although it won't start smoking til it hits about 240- but NEVER take that chance.

 

Add your color stirring well, add your scent as directed on your scent bottle. Stir well.

 

There are a few ways you can set your wick. You can pour a few inches of wax and put your wick in and let the wax set a bit. As long as appearance doesn't matter you can do this - there will be a line where the wax was poured.

Or you can fill your jar, wait a minute until the wax on the bottom settings, put your wick in and hold it down a few seconds with your thermomter. Center your wick with a pencil.

 

After about an hour you will have what is called a sinkhole. Pick holes around the wax to let the wick breathe, this will ensure a better burning. Wait about 10 minutes and re-pour to fill the sinkhole. Depending on your wax, you may have to do this again, if you get another sink hole.

 

Let your candle cure overnight ( or sooner if you can't wait)., and enjoy your candle!

 

I need to warn you, candlemaking can become very addicting. For me, it started out as a hobby and turned into a great buisness, that is, until our economy in Michigan took a turn. As of this year, i have been making candles for 11 years.

 

I know it his sounds like alot, but once you get the hang of it, it goes very fast.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

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If you have enough wax and a container tall enough, you can dip candles. I do this. I have a cylinder shaped container I melt the beeswax in...(I try to get deal from a local beekeeper and the wax is usually really nice stuff that still sometimes has drops of honey mixed in it..and those candles are so wonderful!!) Anyway, you use a wick long enough for two candles, dip each, then set them to dry on a rack, pick up another wick, dip those...repeat. I usually do about 18 at a time so that when I start back with the first one, it is cooled enough. You keep dipping in turn, letting them cool enough between, until the candles are the width you want. Keep an eye on the bottom of the candle so that the wick isn't buried too far up...sometimes you need trim the bottoms of the candles.

 

These kinds of candles should then be left to "cure" for several months, to evaporate any moisture in them.

 

These are the simplest candles to make.

 

I'm not a huge fan of poured candles because I always have trouble with getting them out of the mold. Besides, the hand dipped ones look great in old-style lanterns. They give off wonderful light, smell nice--and when I go to reenactments, they are correct for the time period!

 

Candles can be dipped with paraffin wax added to the beeswax. I don't do this, because I'm a purist, LOL

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Kathy, Jack....thank you! I'm going to do this....I'm not afraid of failure...I CAN decide between paraffin and beeswax...

Ya know, I'm begiing to feel like a child in a very big candy store.

I'll be back. Don't anyone go anywhere.

Paraffin? Beeswax? Paraffin? Beeswax? .....Scent! Scent? Oh dear.

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Thank you, Mother. It's a good thing to see that all newbies do much the same thing. I am/was not alone! thanks

I find the info on different wick shaping very interesting. I'm going to experiment this evening.

Was there mention elsewhere of where to get the best wicks?

You are a treat! bighug

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Originally Posted By: Cowgirl
OK. Now the truth is coming out. I am a candle nut. I love lights that aren't electric, whether oil lamps (I have a few of those) or candles. Since I don't like open flames in the house, I have ... a few ways to contain the flames. triberofl

I have a pierced tin candle lantern. I consider it great for mood lighting. Few lights are prettier for dinner. Yes, when we have a black-out, I still like pretty! It makes it seem much more festive. This lantern sends out tiny rays of light all around the room, making an incredible display. The photo below is taken in broad daylight, unlit. So, it doesn't do the lantern justice at all.

PhotosAroundtheHouse024.jpg

I have many sturdy glass containers for candles - I like my glass candle holders to be substantial. I'm not going to flood the site with photos of those! However, when you find a glass container, consider its many uses.



My daughter and I are candle nuts too. Your lanterns are really really really wonderful!!!! Thank you for the pictures. clapsmilie
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How long will lamp oil last? If the flame is kept medium-low, a lamp that holds about a quart of lamp oil will burn for about 10-12 hours.

 

Our ancestors lived more in tune with nature than most of us do. When it gets dark, we just flick on a light switch and keep on going. In the old days, activities were timed around nature, especially if fuel for heat and light was scarce. They simply went to bed earlier!

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  • 2 months later...

Here's a link with information on oil lamps too:

http://www.alpharubicon.com/primitive/oillampsstryder.html

 

"Oil lamps burn about ½ oz. of lamp oil per hour when correctly adjusted"

 

This link has the same information plus more information on fuel:

http://www.simplyprepared.com/Fuel%20facts...d%20figures.htm

 

 

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