On the Fringes of the Prairie, 1800-1850
Objects Camphene lamp, 1830-1860
Camphene lamp, 1830-1860

This hand lamp has a small font and a burner with wick caps designed for safety when burning highly flammable camphene fluid. Metal caps, usually pewter or brass, were placed over the flames to extinguish them because blowing the flames out was considered dangerous. Many individuals placed camphene burners on their old whale-oil lamps when the cleaner and brighter camphene fluid became available. This practice was dangerous because the larger whale-oil fonts accumulated the heated gas produced by the camphene and often exploded.

Britannia metal
Gift of Geroge N. Keyser in memory of Mary Keyser, St. Charles, IL (1984.2.187)

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