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Two domestic paraffin lamps, c 1860-1910.

Two domestic paraffin lamps, c 1860-1910.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm


On the left is shown a typical late Victorian ornamental duplex table lamp, as used in wealthier homes. The duplex burner, with two ribbon wicks, was introduced by Hinks in 1865 and produced a particularly bright flame. On the right is a gimbal-mounted single-wick lamp for use on board ship. It remained upright at all times, regardles of the angles to the vertical of the mounting plate. In 1859, mineral oil (paraffin) became available in large quantities, making the previously expensive fuel much more affordable.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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