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tline3open  Betty Lamp

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Author Topic:   Betty Lamp
ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 11-27-2017 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


The strange looking thing above is called a double Betty lamb and was used for indoor lighting. These lamps burned fish oil or fat trimmings and had wicks of twisted cloth. The hook for hanging has a pointed straight end that could be driven into a wall or the hook could simple be placed on a flat object and hung. I think the owner would put oil in the upper tray, add a wick that hung out over the end and then light it. Drippings from the upper tray would supposedly be caught by the lower tray. With all these open flames around I am surprised that more homes did not burn down.

The blacksmith that made this lamp added stylized pineapples on the back that I think are very attractive. This piece is not signed and I have no idea how old it is.

Early lighting is an interesting field of collecting.

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-27-2017 11:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This post made me think of an item we came across years ago called a rushlight. In the eighteenth century in Britain, people of lesser means would use a metal holder to burn the pith of the rush plant which was soaked in fat or grease.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-27-2017 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the current generalized use of the term "Betty Lamp" is not 100% accurate. This type of lamp is an oil, whale or grease lamp. These lighting devices evolved over the years, came in many forms and had various names. I believe the term "Betty" originated from the German word "besser", meaning better.

An assortment of these "Betty, oil, grease and whale lamps" may be seen here.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-27-2017 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rush - any of several flowering plants distinguished by cylindrical stalks or hollow, stemlike leaves. They are found in temperate regions and particularly in moist or shady locations. The rush family (Juncaceae) includes Juncus, the common rushes, and Luzula, the wood rushes.

The rush plant's reed when dried out, they are soaked in and absorb oil/grease. These when lit were used for lighting. The devices for holding the slow burning rush stocks were referred to as "Rushlights" or "Rushlamps" or "Rush-light holders".

I read that a 15 inch rush soaked in mutton tallow and dried could provide about 15 minuets of light.

Our Rush-lights (a pair) are made in silver.... We have never seen a silver rush-lamp ever before or since then.

Here is a write up from 1904 about lighting.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 11-28-2017 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott thanks for the interesting information on the Betty Lamps and Rush lamps.

Another form of early lighting is the Argand Lamp. We brought two some years ago and they had been electrified so they are not all original; but we do use it for light. Our lamps were made by J. B. Wilbor of New York, N.Y. I think they were made in the 1830s.

Aimé Argand, a Swiss physicist and chemist, designed this lamp in 1781 and it produced the light of six to 10 candles. The Argand Lamp had a hollow cylinder within the circular wick, which allowed air to flow both inside and outside the flame at the upper edge of the fuel-soaked wick.

I believe these lamps were made in silver, but I have never seen a silver one for sale.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-29-2017 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your Argand reservoir lamps ... .... I haven't really thought about that style lamp since I was a child. My parents also electrified ours. My Mom kept the Argand burner in the drawer of the table the lamps were place on. I'm not sure why she did this....perhaps in case of a hurricane and the power went out wink. I remember the Argand burner had a very wide wick that would be twisted/curved into a cylinder shape when drawn into the burner mechanism.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 11-29-2017 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An interesting book that I read recently recounts some of the reasons we no longer use lamps of this kind. The book “The Last Days of Night” by Malcolm Moore is the story set just before the beginnings of the use of electricity for lighting our world. Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse fight it out in a battle of the currents; i.e. will AC or DC become that standard for electrical transmission.
I probably liked it more because the lead character was a young Patent Attorney. There are very few books of general interest that deal with patents, but I think this is one that anyone interested in life in the 1880s would enjoy. Eddie Redmayne is set to play the part of the patent attorney in the movie.


[This message has been edited by ahwt (edited 11-29-2017).]

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-29-2017 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm looking forward to seeing THE CURRENT WAR - Official US Trailer.

2 silver plated Argand lamps:


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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 11-29-2017 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The “Current Wars” is one movie that explores the battle between AC and DC, but there is also one based on the book “The Last Days of Night”, by Graham Moore. It is interesting that two movies would come out almost at the same time with the same topic. The “Last Days of Night” is the one that has the patent attorney role. Eddie Redmayne stars as the patent attorney in this movie.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 11-29-2017 10:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think there is a movie trailer yet for "Last days of night" staring "Eddie Redmayne".

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Polly

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Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 11-30-2017 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read The Last Days of Night and was not impressed.

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