Mr. B. H. Ryder,
Said that, hiving lived in Kenya for something like 45
years he knew how indebted they had been to the incandescent paraffin type
of lamp; he had spent many hours replacing mantles.
He could quite confirm what T. E. Lawrence said that
to let any African touch the lamps was completely fatal.
Mr. J. A. Crabtree,
Asked how, prior to the Smith design, it was possible
to light the lamp when the mantle was in place and had become brittle.
The difficulties of producing a good heating flame by the pressure type
of lamp had probably been solved very much earlier than with a wick lamp.
Did the pressure paraffin lamp in a saleable form precede the really successful
Answering the first part of the question, said that
the early makes of lamp had serious difficulties with the mantle. Once
the mantle had been burnt it was very fragile; to shift it and relight
the lamp was almost impossible. The earliest pressure lamp that really
got into use was Kitsons about 1901, but it was very difficult to find
information about that because Kitwn didn't take out a patent and the Company
had been out of existence for a great many years. Presumably they
were not very succcessful.
Mr. G. H. Cleare,
Said in the middle thirties he used to stay in a cottage
in North Cornwall where he had one of Aladdin's lamps. You lit it by detaching
the mantle. There was sufficient slack in the bayonet fixing for this to
be done. You could usually make the mantle last a fortnight after which
it just fell to pieces.
Mr. J. G. B. Hills,
Asked how the Bude lamp was supplied with oxygen. Cylinders
for compressed gases have been subject to Home Office Regulations since
1890; but had they gas cylinders as early as 1839; or did they generate
oxygen chemically on the spot?
Said he had read the specification very carefully
with those points in mind but they don’t say. They merely say they introduce
oxygen through a conduit which is marked on the drawing and there is a
control cock which turned it on or off. Whether their lamp got into use
he didn't know.
Mention was made of the use of pressure-fuelled lanterns
Lt. Col. T. M. Simmons,
Had seen one a few years ago at Anvil Point, just off
the coast between Swanage and Lulworth. To change the mantle it was lifted
up with a complete harness (between guides), hooked at a higher level and
slid out. Fortunately, even with that great intensity of light and heat,
mantles do not have to be changed often, for the harness was a substantial
affair. Colonel Simmons went on to say that the police formerly used incandescent
lamps for road work but had gone over to the revolving electric lamp. Railway
gangers at night still use the incandescent paraffin lamp, and. put them
along the line when they are doing track repairs. It still forms part of
the kit of the R.A.C. and A.A. motor cyclist.
Mr. Rex Wailles,
Said that Mr. Ramsey hadn't emphasised the good light
as compared with even modem electric lighting, certainly until the fluorescent
tube came in. During the war his wife and children were up in N.W. Scotland
where there is no electricicy. They used a Tilley lamp and the light there
was very much better for all fine work than we had in London before the
war. He also came across a case in Finland where for sewing a Tilley pressure
lamp was used in preference although electric light was available.
Mr. N. D. New,
Instanced the present day use on a horse-drawn narrow
boat of three Tilley lamps. Could not the incandescent type of Aladdin
lamp be made in such a manner that it would be sufficiently robust to be
used as a lantern ? Mr. New also commented that butane, generally sold
in Britain as "Calor Gas" was used in some lamps in place of paraffin,
though it was five times as dear, and not always available in the remoter
places frequented by yachtsmen.
Mr. Ronald H. Clark,
Had used a lamp almost identical with that shown in Fig.
14 to inspect a locomotive boiler fire box. With an electric torch a fine
crack in a fire box cannot be seen: with an Aladdin lamp it can, even on
the earlier makes. Boiler makers prefer them; the next best thing is a
Mr. M. L. H. Standen,
Said that in the sailing fraternity the great modem thing
was calor-gas-lit incandescent lamps and the Post Office, at holes in the
road, were using propane in internal combustion engines driving pumps.
Presumably they are using it for lighting as well.
Mr. R. J. Law,
Said he had a written contribution from M. Charles Dollfus,
a Member in Parts, which he read.
M. Dollfus wrote: "The first idea of the Argand lamp,
with a cylindrical wick, and double current of air, belongs to Joseph Montgolfier,
inventor of the aerostat and of the hydraulic ram. Being a close friend
of Argand, Montgolfier drew his attention to the principle, which Argand
developed and on wich he actually made his first lamps, adding the important
improvement of the glass chimney.
The later discussions between Argand and his partners
or competitors, Lange and Quinquet are well known. Against all justice,
Quinquet gave his name to Argand’s lamps.
In the steady improvements between 1785 and 1836, Mr.
Ramsey does not mention one of the most important, the mecahnical lamp
of Guillaume Carcel (of Paris), patented on 24 Octobcr 1800; an oil-pump
with clock-work to raise the fuel to the wick- and burner. From the beginning
this invention was perfect; it dispensed with the side-tank, the fuel being
stocked in the foot of the lamp. Houghton's lamp is a later device.
The first idea of using shale oil for lighting belongs
to Selligug, the owner of a gasworks in Paris, where was made a mixture
of oxide of carbon and gas from distilled shale, one of the precursors
of water-gas. In about 1850 Selligue made the first lamps burning shale
oil; the oil raised by capillarity in the wick to the burner of the Argand
double-draught type. The air came to the burner by a circular perforrated.
In another type of lamp, the air came through the bass of the lamp up a
pipe in the tank.
In the sixties, the petrol (in French petrole, in English
paraffin) lamps, with metal, porcelain or crystal bodie, came into use.
The wick was generally a flat one, which was raised or lowered by a toothed
wheel controlled by a key.
About 1865, M. Boital (of Paris) developed a petrol lamp
in which the flat wick was converted into a cylindrical one by a special
guide before it reached the burner. M. Boital, instead of using, as others
had done, a glass chimney enlarged at the flame level, used chinmeys of
restricted diameter around the flame to increase the air-draught so, by
better combustion, avoiding smoke and smell.
Another improvement, of about the same time, was the 'lamp
without liquid,' invented by Mille and popularly developed by Pigeon, who
left his name to the 'lampe Pigeon'. A small metal body was filled
with a sponge which was impregnated by gasoline. A round small wick plunged
through a pipe in the sponge and out of the body through a narrow pipe
used as a burner. These very cheap but convenient lamps have been
used for more than a century up to the present day, with no improvents.
Mr. C. E. LEE,
Commenting on the use of the word "petrol" in the French
sense recalled that when he was a small boy his father was concerned with
supplying certain commodities. One of his customers ordered a supply
of “petrol” for a country house. At that time the word petrol was
already coming into use, although he thought he was right in saying that
it was a protected word of the firm of Carless, Capel and Leonard. Just
before the petrol was despatched to this country house his father spotted
that the resident bore a French name and his people were presumably ordering
petrole in French for their paraffin lamps. So, no doubt, a tragedy was
A comment was made that Carless, Capel and Leonard did
invent the word petrol but they did not immediately protect it. By the
time they tried to do so it had become the only name for the liquid used
universally in cars.
Said he was not unaware of the instances mentioned
by M. Dollfus, but had been under strict limitations of space. He
was quite prepared to believe that Montgolfier did invent that burner,
but at that period persons not resident in this country could not apply
for patents. Argand, although he was Swiss, did live here for many years,
and was quite in order in applying for a patent, and the burner has retained
Mr. J. W. Butler,
In proposing a vote of thanks recalled that on page 4
Mr. Ramsey talked of Young and paraffin oil. Was 1855 the first occasion
when the name paraffin was given to that substance? He was also surprised
to hear that the incandescent mantle, devised by Welsbach in 1885, appears
to have gone on for seventy or eighty years without appreciable alteration.
One might have expected that such a fragile contraption could have been
improved by applying some of the
newer chemical, substances that had came to light
in the interval. Mr. Butler confessed that he found himself speculating
about the manufacturing difficulties which must have been encountered as
the efficiency of combustion improved, temperatures- rose, and the need
to resist heat for considerable lengths of time increased. What he
remembered so clearly about these early lamps was the way in which the
deep-drawn parts of brass components suffered from fatigue cracking. Could
Mr. Ramsey say where the Aladdin Company first started manufacturing in
Said the company, during the late 1920s, imported
components from America and assembled them here. Then they began
to have some components made by outside contractors. Once the building
on Western Avenue at Greenford was finished, about 1931 or 1932, they manufactured
practically everything there except of course the chimney.-, which he believed
were made originally by Chance & Co. Mr Ramsey didn't know who made
Mr. J. G. B. HILLS,
Contributed by correspondence as follows:
Further to my remarks in the discussion of your paper,
"The Origin and Development of the Incandescent Pirnflin Lamp," the evidence
for the Bude Light having been actually made is that it was a topical allusion
in Early Victorian times. The Rev. R. H. Barham (Thomas Ingoldsby), 1788-1845,
used the phrase "the finest Bude light" in a semi-humorous poem "The
Lay of St. Odille" which originally appcired in Bentley's Miscellany, c.
1837~38. My text of this work is unfortunately an undatcd cheap edition
of Ingoldsby Legends in which all Barham's verse from Bentley's Miscellany
is reprinted without dates.
Canadians may dispute that illuminating oil was first
produced in quantity in Pensylvannia.
James, Miller Williams had productive wells and built
a refinery in 1857 at Oil Springs, Lambton County, Ontario. In 1858-60
he is said to have refined 350,000 gallons of crude oil mainly at a larger
refinary built in 1858 at Hamilton, Ontario. (Ford and McPherson, A History
of the Chemical Industry in Lambton County, Dow Chemical of Canada Ltd.
There was a third London Livery Company concerned with
illumination, the Homer's Company, who made "Lanthorns" among other horn
articles. These were, however, probably candle lanterns as used by
the old night watchmen.
Mr. RAMSEY replied thus to Mr. Hills:
1. My copy of the Ingoldsby Legents is also undated
but I question whether the poem containing the reference to the Bude Light
could have been published as early as 1837 or 1838. The relevant
Patent is that granted under No. 8098 of 1839 to Gurney & Rixon. This
information I obtained from the Search Guide to the Patent Office Library
published in 1901 but no information other than the Patent number and the
inventors name is given.
2. The oxygen supply for the Bude Light. I have
re-read the specification and the only information given
“ any suitable apparatus for obtaining pure oxygen,
or from a reservoir containing the same." what is meant by the "reservoir"
must remain a matter of conjecture.
3. The information concerning the supply of lamp oil
from Pennsylvania was obtained, as stated in my paper, from Thorpe's Dictionary
of Applied Chemistry which is a standard work and does not refer to Canada
as an early source of supply. Professor Lewis in his book Oil Fuel
also quoted in my paper, and written in 1913 says that "many oil deposits
in Canada are only waiting to be opened up." He also says of the canadian
wells that they are comparatively shallow and the oil contaminated with
sulphur. In the production tables for 1912, the Canadian production is
4. Livery Companies. I am a 1iveryman of the Farriers
Company and of course made thorough enquiries before making the referenece
to the Wax Chandlers and the Tallow Chandlers. I amsatisfied that the Horners
never made oillamps, although no doubt they supplied the translucent horn
panels used in candle 1anterns.