The one piece of equipment that seems to do it all. Providing light equal to a 60 watt light bulb, enough heat output to heat a medium sized area, the ability to cook and bake, and it sips fuel like a miser. The Aladdin lamp does not get much mention but, in my opinion, it is a must have. I would not trade the two I have for anything if I could not replace them. They have been priceless during the many power outages experienced, even rivaling my generators in their importance. Those of you who have one will most likely agree. The Aladdin lamp is far superior to the standard hurricane lamp.
The light output is intense. They say that it is equal to a 60W light bulb but it sure seems brighter when you are relying on it during a power outage. Thanks to the Thorium mantle, the light produced far exceeds that of candles or hurricane lights.
Aladdin lamps burn HOT. A piece of paper held over the chimney will burst into flame immediately. The heat pours out the top to such a degree that it will heat quite a large area. If you live in an apartment or in an area that you cannot have a generator or woodstove, the Aladdin lamp will keep you warm. The heat from these lamps rivals that of the woodstove I use during power outages. Many times it starts to get uncomfortably warm in the rooms that the lamps are being used in even though it is in the teens outside.
Because of the high heat output, it also can be used to cook. Using scrap metal, I fabricated a high cooking tripod that will hold standard pots and pans. You can cook on it by removing the Thorium mantle and just use the wick but I have found it works much better leaving the mantle in place.
Also, by using heat ducting, an oven can be easily fabricated. My first prototype used 8" stovepipe. When I found that this crude oven worked so well, I constructed a better model using rectangular, galvanized ducting available at any home improvement center. Fabrication of an oven is simple. Put together the two halves of the square duct. Then seal both ends with sheet metal, in effect forming a box. One end must be hinged to act as a door, the other end can be permanently fixed. Cut a 3 or 4 inch hole towards the end of one side of the duct and cut the same size hole on the other side of the duct, near the other end. One hole is for the end of the Aladdin lamp chimney top to feed heat into the oven, the other hole is to allow excess heat to escape. I used steel shelving legs (scrap) to support the oven at the height necessary to allow the chimney to come within an inch or so of the heat collection hole. Once into place, a small piece of sheet metal is just laid over the hole cut to allow excess heat to escape. All you have to do is slide it around to reduce or increase the amout of heat that escapes, thus controlling the heat level in the oven. Bread bakes very well using this oven. The bread pan must be supported to allow heat under it, of course. I also wrapped a thin layer of insulation over parts of it. Works great. Not a great cook here but I see no reason why anything can't be baked in it. The high heat of the Aladdin lamp makes its use in this manner possible.
Aladdin lamps burn much cleaner than hurricane lamps and they require little fuel to keep them going. I keep some old dish detergent (squeeze type) plastic bottles filled with standard kerosene for efficient filling. Better than using funnels because you can see when to stop fueling. No, the kerosene won't dissolve the plastic. Have been using the same ones for years.
When using Aladdin lamps, do not leave them unattended. In addition to the high heat hazzard, if you burn them at maximum they may start to form carbon on the mantle. If you get carbon formation on the mantle, simply turn the lamp down and it will burn off gradually. Like any mantle, it will break if abused. The spare parts to be stored include wicks, mantles, a spare chimney, and a wick trimmer. Extra mantles are most important. I have never had to replace a wick or chimney but you never know!
I purchased mine 30+ years ago from NitroPack. I do not know if they still carry them. They are definately worth looking for. Perhaps others know who still sells them. The technology has been around 100 years. There are Aladdin lamps in antique shops although I have found these to be less desireable than the newer ones. The new ones are sold as fancy ones with expensive glass shades or simple ones with aluminum bodies and simple chimneys. I use the simple ones since I am only interested in utility. The fancy ones are beautiful, worthy of a show piece in any home.
After one severe power outage in the the 1980's. I bought 2 dozen of them and sold them where I was working at the time (in a city), making a small profit , of course. Everyone loved them even though they weren't into preparedness as we are. The same lamps were still on the job when I retired. In my opinion, you will not be disappointed if you decide to get one. I also store 60 gallons of kerosene just for these lamp. The lamps work fine with 30 year old, untreated kerosene. They use so little fuel that these 60 gallons will see me through any uncertain future. For your consideration.