Three miners' lamps, 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Davy lamp on the left, designed by Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) in 1815, consists of a cylinder of wire gauze containing a wick attached to an oil reservoir and surrounded by an iron frame. The lamp in the middle was designed by George Stephenson (1781-1848) and was commonly known as the 'Geordie'. The light is covered by a glas chimney, surrounded by an outer casing and a top of wire gauze, while air is admitted through small holes in a copper ring below the level of the wick. The Marsaut lamp on the right, designed in the 1880s by the French mining engineer M Marsaut, was fitted with two or three conical gauzes which added to the safety of the lamp in high air velocities. It proved to be one of the most effective safety lamps and saw many years of succesful service.