Nearly every winter we hear of some sad accident through the careless use of a lamp, or through the use of poor oil. Many people have a strong prejudice against this mode of lighting because of the smell; but there is no danger of accidents when a few facts are rightly understood. Any smell is a reflection on the lamp trimmer, as a well-trimmed lamp should be odourless.
(a) The base should be firm and heavy, to avoid being easily knocked over.
(c) Burners, which may be flat or circular, should be so made that a current of air may pass on both sides.
(d) The chimney should be fireproof.
(e) The oil must be good. (f) The wick must fit well.
(g) If possible, select a lamp which has a safety"apparatus for extinguishing it.
OIL. Paraffin or petroleum oil is apt to explode when heated above its flashing point, which in the case of ordinary oils is about 730 Fahr. In order to be secure from accident, it is wise never to buy an oil whose flashing point is under 100° Fahr.; this will cost 10d. or 11d. per gallon. If bought in large quantities it is, of course, cheaper, but there is always risk in case of fire. Large amounts should be kept well corked in an outhouse or cellar. A lamp will always burn better when the oil is moderately warm; so that if the oil has been stored in a very cold place it is well to allow it to be in the kitchen a short time before filling the reservoirs.
The wick should be loosely plaited and should fit the burner. New wicks should be held to a candle for a minute to burn the top evenly, otherwise it is difficult to get them level. They give a better light and are less liable to smoke if, when new, they are steeped in vinegar, and dried before being placed in the burner.
The required materials are a piece of American cloth, one duster for the stand, one for the chimney and globe, a lamp mop, old pair of gloves, soft tissue-paper, oil-filler, oil, and a little bristle brush (1d.).
Lamps should always be attended to by daylight to avoid accidents. The materials used should be kept apart on account of the smell of the oil; for this reason it is wise to spread a piece of American cloth on the table, and to wear gloves.
1. Remove and dust globe, washing it when necessary.
3. Remove and dust the frame.
4. Dust and brush any charred bits off the deflector.
5. Rub the top surface of the wick with paper to remove the charred particles and leave it even, turning the wick up just above the level of the burner while attending to it, afterwards lowering it to prevent the oil from oozing out.
6. Fill the reservoir to within half an inch from the top, adding a lump of salt or carbon the size of a walnut, as this produces a better light.
7. Wipe the oil off the burner with paper until quite free from grease.
8. If the stand is of lacquered brass, polish it with a duster, washing it occasionally with sour milk, lemon juice, or vinegar and water. If of bronze, rub it with a little vaseline, then polish with a duster.
9. Replace the various parts.
Do not wash chimneys, unless compelled, as they become more liable to break. If smoked, wipe them with paper before using the mop. If washing is essential, put a little ammonia in the water (not soapsuds, as they give a smeared appearance); allow them to drain until dry; a cloth causes smeariness. Half an inch air-space should always be allowed at the top of the reservoir to allow for expansion of the oil when heated, and to prevent the oil oozing through the mouth of the reservoir. The oil should be poured in from an oil-filler (1/2 each), the long narrow spout being placed in the opening to avoid spilling.