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Oil Lamps

Oil lamps

Lampe à huile 6

Dear visitors, please allow us to give a short explanation on oil lamps and some characteristics of their internal structure.
As you may have noticed, when these lamps are electrical, the cables are usually inserted from the upper part of the lamp. This is because original oil lamps have a complex inner structure and namely contain an oil reservoir.
It is impossible to transform the lamp into an electrical one inserting the new mechanism from underneath as there are still oily remains in the reservoir, which the wires, etc. would have to go through.





Lampe à Huile 2Oil lamps were made as of 1837, using rapeseed oil (they're also called moderator oil lamps). Rapeseed oil was safe and reliable, yet the cleaning a complicated process. Hence, as of 1853 with the advent of petrol, oil lamps where replaced with kerosene lamps.
If the oil lamps required a piston to lift the oil (hence the two adjusting screws at the top of the lamp, very characteristic of oil lamps), no piston was required in the kerosene lamps that replaced them. ModerateurThis new fuel of a more liquid consistency rose by capillary action up the textile wick. Thus, simpler, the kerosene lamp gradually replaced the oil lamp in the second half of the 19th century (this is why oil lamps are not of other styles than the Napoleon III style, or before, while kerosene lamps were made in other later styles).
It is very rare today to find lamps with an intact reservoir. Oftentimes, the reservoir is punctured and hence there are unpleasant leaks.

In such cases, the lamps can be dismantled and cleaned and the reservoir removed. Thereafter, it is possible to make the lamp into an electrical one, bringing the new electrical system up through the bottom of the lamp.
To complete the new lamp, it can either keep its original glass lampshade or have a new modern one put on.
In both cases, the lamp is now clean, functional, aesthetic, and nearly 2-centuries old.

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