Oil Lamps have been around for centuries and have been a popular alternative for candlelight prior to the introduction of electric light. Many oil lamps today have been modified to accommodate an electric bulb, but there are still many that retain their original stature.
For the antique collector, the oil lamp is a staple item that is either used exclusively for decoration, or as a source of secondary light. If you are of the latter inclination, there is some basic knowledge that is required to use and maintain them.
An oil lamp is often fated to be missing a chimney - but why?
There are hundreds of designs of oil lamps, but each one will require the correct size chimney. The chimney determines the proper air flow for the flame, kind of like a flue in a fireplace. The wrong ratio could cause the chimney to crack. Another thing that could cause cracking in the chimney is the brackets being too tight not allowing the glass to expand with the heat of the flame. When you light your oil lamp, let the flame grow until it is warmed up and then lower the wick before placing the chimney over top. And of course there is always human error even if all of these steps are checked. If you have ever met my mother... an oil lamp should not be placed within her arm's reach.
Following that, as long as you use clean lamp oil, and never leave a lamp unattended, the light and warmth from an oil lamp can set the atmosphere for many a cold winter's night.
If you are interested in learning more about your oil lamp, or ever in need of replacement parts, check out Antique Lamp Supply for a start. Information has never been more accessible.
I have some oil lamps currently available in my shop that you can purchase here on my website: