Lamp Frequently Asked Questions
My oil lamp chimney made a noise and a large crack appeared a
few minutes after I lit it. This has now happened twice. How can I
stop this happening?
A: Cracking like that usually means
the lamp has either been warmed up too fast or has been operating
at too high a temperature. Glass expands rapidly as it is heated.
If you operate the lamp on a very low flame for around 10 to 15 minutes
immediately after lighting it the chimney glass will have plenty of
time to expand evenly at a safe rate.
We have recently purchased a Victorian paraffin lamp - with twin
wicks - the light generated is dim and flickers badly even when the
flames are turned up high - I have trimmed the wicks - how can we
get a stronger and steadier light?
There are a few possible reasons why you could be having this
problem. Check the condition of your wicks first. If they are old,
discoloured and hard there may not be the capilliary action to absorb
enough fuel to allow the burner to function properly.
the problem persists the next most probable reason could be that there
is not enough air flow to the wicks to allow the burner to function
correctly. The brilliance of a flame is proportional to the amount
of air which can pass over the wicks to give the correct amount of
oxygen for the flame to burn in.
will note there are air intake holes or slots in the burner's side.
The air which passes through these holes travels through a metal gauze
debris filter inside the burner. Invariably vendors will not know
about this filter and it may not have been cleaned and could be totally
blocked with 100 odd years of bugs, muck and debris.
duplex (twin wick) burners allow access to this filter, some come
apart just above the air intake slots, others have to have the outer
wick cover prised off from inside the chimney holder clasp area. You
will need to find out which type you have, remove the top, immerse
the bottom section (without wicks ) in water with some dishwashing
liquid in it and scrub the internal gauze filter with a toothbrush.
Prepare to be amazed by the amount of filth that is removed. This
filter can actually be removed for cleaning if wished but take care
not to crack or damage it when doing so.
should cure your problem. If it does not, try using another type of
lamp oil. Strangely some antique burners take on a definite awkward
personality and refuse to function with the new more refined lamp
oil. Changing to ordinary paraffin will invariably cure the problem
although there will be more odour.
There is a large letter V inside a clover leaf stamped into the
base of my oil lamp. Do you know what this stands for?
The large letter V inside a clover leaf – or trefoil –
is the trademark of what turned out to be about the biggest oil lamp
empire there has ever been. Veritas started out in the 1880s as Falk,
Stadelmann & Co. and proceeded to absorb just about every oil
lamp manufacturer of note into their conglomerate. They eventually
owned names such as Wright & Butler, Thomas Rowatt & Sons,
James Hinks & Son, Palmer & co. etc. etc. They started to
fade in the late 1960s and were bought out. All that remains now are
two smaller companies – an electric light importing business
in Dublin, Ireland, and Falks Veritas in the island of Malta who make
Q: I believe my duplex oil lamp has an incorrect shade on it.
Can you advise what type it should have?
There is no hard and fast rule as to what type of shade should
go with a particular lamp. In the distant days when oil lamps were
new and an essential part of every household the choice of shade type
– if indeed a shade was required at all - was personal to the
taste of the purchaser. Shades were sold as extras although lamps
would have been featured in the shop displays with these in place
and many people would have chosen the type illustrated.