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The magical Aladdin lamp.

I was surprised at a reader's disdain for the Aladdin lamp. My discovery of the Aladdin was one of the best events of 1993! Since I have only one, and have used it for only a year, to write this article I interviewed a neighbor who has one, and also got some information from the manufacturer.

There is no electric service in our area, so oil lamps are no toy for us.

First, note that the Aladdin lamp is not the kind you have to pump up, and it uses common kerosene, not any exotic fuel.

I bought my Aladdin in a second-hand store for $20.00. (Currently, new ones in our area cost $52.99.) It was fully functional except that it lacked a mantle. Mantles at Ace Hardware cost me $4.75 each. Without instructions, except for the paper that comes with the new mantle, I carried the lamp home for initiation.

I filled the bowl with fresh kerosene, installed and "burned" the new mantle, lit the wick, attached the chimney assembly (which contains the mantle inside) and adjusted the flame until the mantle began to shine brightly. After a few minutes I saw that it was okay and I turned my attention elsewhere.

Soon I saw that the mantle was accumulating soot! How discouraging! I adjusted the flame and found that by lowering it sufficiently, the soot burned off. Soon the mantle was clean again.

The first time you use your Aladdin, new or used, watch it for the first 10 minutes and lower the flame at the first sign of soot buildup, smoke, or an orange flame rising outside the mantle. Oil lamps should be adjusted to their maximum efficient burn rate to eliminate smoking. The cooler the flame, the less efficient the bum rate and the more smoke there is.

The Aladdin lamp has several characteristics of great importance.

1. The light produced by the mantle (which is a kind of catalytic converter) is much brighter (three to four times) than an open flame oil lamp.

2. The mantle produces a high temperature, which: a) is dangerous if you touch the chimney; b) is wonderful during cold weather; c) will roast you during hot weather. It is easy to rig an exhaust system from above the lamp chimney to the outside through a window during hot weather by using some stove pipe. Or build a shelf for your lamp outside a window and leave the heat out and let the light in!

3. Best of all, the Aladdin lamp, when trimmed correctly, will produce no odor due to the high temperature created by the mantle, which burns the fuel much more efficiently than open flame oil lamps. I burn plain kerosene in mine. There is no need to spend big bucks on some kind of fancy scented lamp oil unless you want to. The Aladdin company discourages the use of scented oils, as they may clog up the wick.

The Aladdin is almost impossible to blow out except when blowing straight down the chimney, so even if you use it outside the breeze will not affect it. Like any oil lamp, if it is knocked over, a fire could result, so keep an extinguisher or water handy for any emergency. If children are present it would probably be good to place the lamp in the center of a large table where it will be difficult to reach.

The Aladdin uses about one to one-and-a-half cups of fuel every evening five to eight hours of use). You will appreciate the clean air more than any other gift from this great lamp - well, unless it is the bright white light. I have used mine for over a year and am still using the original mantle.

Like other lamps, the wick must be "trimmed" or in Aladdin's case "cleaned" occasionally. It comes with a device used for cleaning the wick, and instructions. If, like me, you buy a used one and there is no such device, try carefully removing the soot from the top of the wick as evenly as possible all the way around so it will produce an even flame. The best way to get full instructions for the maintenance of your lamp is to go to a store that sells new ones and read the brochure.

One last tip, keep your oil level high. Wicks will burn up faster if the oil level is down to the bottom of the wick.

Aladdin has models with lamp shades, and even electric conversion kits for you who will never have to worry about an interruption of your electric service!

Reference: Aladdin, Tbe Magic Name in Lamps, by J.W. Courter; 1971. The old ads (above) are from this book.
COPYRIGHT 1995 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:kerosene lamp
Author:Cox, Stuart R.
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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