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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a lantern that burns common cooking oils?

Seems like that would be a handy thing to have, since fuels (like white gas or kerosene) do not keep forever.

Thanks.

Mac
 

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Just walking at the edge of my grave
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I believe that you can use any liquid cooking oil - -but the wicks will 'plug up' and have to be replaced.
 

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James Townson used to sell a Betty Lamp that uses cooking fat. I don't have the website address but a google search will find them. They sell reproductions for historical re-enactments. I have bought a lot from them in the past and very satisfied with the quality.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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you might want to do some research before using vegetable cooking oil in a lamp, I recall that if the combustion temperature isn't high enough the exhaust gasses can be pretty toxic, If you can smell something similar to burnt plastic the fire may not be hot enough to burn cleanly.
 

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Cooking oil is too thick to wick effectively. I look at it like this.... They had oils back in the 1800's so it will not be long before someone is producing it again. Shipping is going to be the biggest issue throughout the world. Land is not gong to be a problem as they will strip the car bodies and make wagons out of them. It will be ocean transportation that will take a while to replace. If you build yourself a fleet of sailing vessels then you could be a millionaire over night.
 

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Notice how the wicks used in cooking oil lamps are very short? There must be a reason for this.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks very much

Folks,
Thanks for all the responses.
I will look at those links.
best,
Mac
 

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Texan
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I tried cooking oil in a kerosene lamp a while back and like said above, didn't work - the oil wouldn't wick up.

I mixed a little kerosene with it and it was better but I wrote it off as being not too practical.
 

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I sold my soul to the internet
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Cruises are an open (i.e. not lidded) fat or oil-burning lamp usually made of iron or pottery. Any drippings from cooking would do - mutton and fish oil were preferred - though the purer the better. Whale or seal oil where also used. Often square shaped, there were lips at the corners upon which wicks were placed. The heat from a lit wick would start to melt the fat, which would then be drawn up the wick and burned. Because the fat is drawn up the wick more quickly than it burns, cruises often had a slightly larger pan hanging directly below in order to catch drippings, preventing fire or at least a mess.

Tin betty lamp. Photo by author.

Betty Lamps are a closed (lidded) oil-burning lamp. Often made of tin, a wick was fed through a spout. A pickwick was periodically used to clear off carbonization from the end of the wick, or to adjust the wick's height. The development by the Basques of industrial scale whaling from the early 16th century was largely as a result of the demand for whale oil for such lamps.

Fir Candles, made of a long thin splinter of fir, were commonly used in Scotland. Indicative of the class which used them, a fir candle holder was known in Scots English as a "puirman" (i.e. poor man - Robins p 13).

None of these produced all that much light, and could be a bit on the sooty side. And none of them hold up much to a breeze. But these are what common folk used in their houses.

The cresset or torchière was common for outdoor use, as well as for illuminating large interiors such as castles. A wrought iron cage was attached to a pole or wall. If the torch was intended to be carried - like the one we often set up in the midst of camp - the cage often pivoted to prevent the contents spilling. The fuel that was used was generally pine knots - the whole knot, not a slice of one

Cook fire was used most of the time.
 

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Texan
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Seems like that would be a handy thing to have, since fuels (like white gas or kerosene) do not keep forever.
From what I've experienced, a fuel like kerosene should burn OK regardless of age as long as it used in a wick type device. I've burnt kerosene that must have been sitting around in our garage in an old 5 gallon metal gas can for 10+ years in a wick type heater without problems. It could have just been a fluke or we may have just been lucky, dont know but it worked for us.
 

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This old thread covers olive oil lamps, when I first joined I made one for fun out of stuff I had around...jar, wire, cut up T shirt for wick. But as is pointed out in thread, unless olive oil is all you have, it's too expensive to use, and if it's California extra virgin olive oil it's liquid gold right now.
http://www.preparedsociety.com/forum/f2/how-make-olive-oil-lantern-5234/
 

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I wonder if using rancid oils would cause a problems?
Good question, all I found is a guy talking about using it and that it might give off an odor. We go thru olive oil like it's water...part Italian :) We did have some older Canola oil that was way past it's prime and I used it on the wood handles of my garden tools, just scraped then sanded em and used a rag to put the oil on...but I digress :p
 

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Time Traveler
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I've read articles that stated that rancid oils would be an excellent choice for lanterns. There might be a different odor but the fire should pretty much take care of that.
 

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It's not a lamp but I make candles from the lard from our pigs, they burn just like a regular candle and don't smell piggy. I sometimes add some paraffin but you don't need to. I wonder if you put a mirror behind the candle if it would give off more light
 

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Take a glass fill 5/8ths full of water, fill with another 1/8th inch of oil. take an item that will float on top, then work a piece of cotton cloth through it so stays in oil. light will have a candle. They use to sell these back in the 60's
 
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