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Hello, I have a question about oil lamps. I've got an (unused but brand new) oil lamp, the red metal kind like you picture in an 1800s coal mine or something. I've got a jar of lamp oil for it, but would olive oil work for it? I know that the lamps used in Biblical Judaea (which were essentially a bowl of oil with a lid and a wick) ran off of olive oil, but would it work in this type of lamp? Is there some sort of drawback to using olive oil in a lamp, or is it just not something people think about doing nowadays?

Also, what about pure grain alcohol? I know PGA is highly flammable, but is it too flammable to use safely in an oil lamp?

Thanks for any help!
 

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That is an awesome question and I hope someone responds to your post with some good information. I have an oil lamp similar to the one you described that I have used many times with the standard lamp oil. I don't know why but I just really like using the thing. It seems like they burn for a decent amount of time on a single filling of the lamp oil.

I also think they light output is much higher than candles and that they must be more efficient than candles???

Thanks,
 

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I hope someone answers this also. A drawback I see is price. Olive oil is expensive (at least to me). To get the same amount of olive oil vs lamp oil would be $9.00 vs $3.50. Also, I've been told olive oil has a low burn point, meaning it smokes and burns at a lower temp than many other oils. It would be nice though to have alternatives. I love my oil lamps also. I use them sometimes when eating on the deck at night instead of candles or talk about a mood killer - electric lights shining in your face!
 

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NOt sure about the oil thing but we use oil lamps alot and have learned a few things.
1. trim the wick (if it's the flat,wide ribbon type) to make it round.
2. light it then turn the knob to make as little of the wick as you can show without extinguishing the light.
you are making it more efficient and preventing the black smoke from messing up the glass. it should flicker little and last along time lit.
If anyone is looking the tractor supply stores are selling tons of hurricane lamps for less than $15.
 

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I've used Olive Oil before, just to see how it worked. It produces a lot of smoke, mind you I used Extra Virgin, some of the other types may smoke less. You can use pretty much any oil. If you want to test it just soak a paper towel and light it, see how much it smokes. Of course the amount of wick you use will also control the smoke. If you do experiment with other oils please do so outside in a clear and well ventilated area.
 

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I was raised with kerosene lamps. Those were not especially fond memories. Things were hard. We apparently never had the money for an Aladdin lamp which put out a lot more light. Us kids would play jacks on the floor. The one thing that was sure to bring a rapid response was to get between the lamp and an adult that was reading. LOL

The problem with other oils would be smoke and little light output. The new lamp oils smell better and produce less smoke.

If you are wondering about something try it out, what do you have to lose.
 

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I don't think you can use grain alcohol for a lamp. It burns blue and puts out very little light. Plus it's much more volatile than an oil based lamp. Spilled oil wound'nt ignite as readily as alcohol.
 

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Oil lamps from ancient times were not much brighter than a candle, essentially just draping a wick in a bowl of rancid animal fat, it probably made for an enriching experience, ha.

Oil and kerosene lanterns, do not put out much light, something between 3 -10 candlepower on the average. You might try burning diesel rather than vegetable oil. There are fire hazards associated with their use, kids or pets can easily topple them. Dietz kerosene lanterns used to incorporate a safety feature so the lantern went out when tipped over, similar looking wal-mart lanterns allow the fuel to run out. Glass oil lamps sometimes referred to as molotov cocktails, are also dangerous if not used carefully.

For bright lighting using kerosene the Aladdin or other non-pressurized mantel lamps are great, but expensive. Britelyt in Florida makes an attractive pressurized lantern that will burn any fuel from used motor oil, bio-diesel, alcohol, kerosene, diesel to gasoline. Buying a solar chargeable LED lantern might be a better high tech answer to provide low level lighting.
 

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Any veggie oil can be used in an oil lamp. They are less refined than the regular lamp oil, so need a different kind of wick.

Here's more information about olive oil lamps from Lehmans in Ohio. They sell lamps, wicks and a great book on olive oil lamps:

http://www.lehmans.com/jump.jsp?itemType=CATEGORY&itemID=894&i1Cat=669&i2Cat=682&i3Cat=894&i4Cat=0

I have their least expensive "Fire and Ice" glass oil lamp which is favoured by their Amish customers. I also bought a case of their Lehmans-brand oil. Both work very well. They are a great source for all things old-fashioned, non-electrical and just plain reliable.
 

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Jacks by lamp light

Shootmore, I bet only a few of the people here even know what jacks are, ha. The lamps only came out for us when the power went out, or we had to spend the night in the storm cellar, ha. The cellar smelled like kerosene all year round. Sitting out a storm or tornado watching adults try to play dominoes by lamp light and going blind in the process was part of the excitement of growing up. We used to play a ring toss game with big canning seals and a nail board, ha. Good memories just the same. Maybe that is why kerosenes smell never bothered me.
 

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Just thinking in SHTF mode, olive oil has over 1900 good healthy calories per cup. Weighing lamp against nutrition, I would choose nutrition. Cheaper ways to make light.
 

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We have "dollar stores" in my state; I often find lamp oil wicked cheap... too often I suppose, the SU has asked me not to purchase anyomore for the SR (stategic reserve).

Does anyone know if lamp oil spoils, goes bad or deteriorates?
 

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We have "dollar stores" in my state; I often find lamp oil wicked cheap... too often I suppose, the SU has asked me not to purchase anyomore for the SR (stategic reserve).

Does anyone know if lamp oil spoils, goes bad or deteriorates?
I am using some that is 10+ years old
 

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When it warms up at night and I go cat fishing, Instead of using my coleman Lantern. I'm going to try a kerosene lantern with Citronella oil in it. For light and keep the skeeters away.
 

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I wouldn't hesitate to use olive oil in a pinch but it's too expensive to use all the time. I have found that the best time to buy lamp oil is in the late spring early summer it's usually on clearance then. Look in craft and foo foo shops for scented and colored lamp oil. Some folks use this in the winter months to make their house smell nice, not for light. The last time I bought some was in a tobacco shop (of all places). It was priced 3.50 for a 20 ounce or so bottle and that was marked down. They were just there collecting dust. I made an offer and bought 11 of them for 5 bucks. YMMV
 

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WM sells em cheap, why bother you will run out of fuel first.

The side edges are braided so they don't get stuck but I would suppose canvas would work, anything too thick would likely wreck the adjustment mechanism.

We have lamps with globes and several dietz lanterns which are much easier to carry around or use outdoors if it is windy.
 
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