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Antique Miners Oil Wick Teapot Lamp Copper And Zinc Hand Held

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Come on baby light my fire...

A very old miners oil wick lamp. The lamp is copper with a zinc top and it still contains a good amount of wick. Nice condition for its age. The last photo shows a lamp that is worn on the miners hat. The listing is for a similar but hand held lamp.

Early mine lighting devices known as oil wick lamps, teapots or sunshine lamps are usually associated with coal mines and came after candlesticks.

~Some history from memorabiliamine.com:
A small wick lamp with a spout resembling a tiny teapot was invented in Scotland in about 1850. These lamps burned lard type oil. They were dangerous with their open flame but saw use for many years. The small "pot" portion of the lamp (about 2 inches tall) held the fuel. A hinged cap sealed over the top and snapped it shut.

A long spout of several inches contained the wick and extended up and out from one side of the pot. On the opposite side from the spout was a hook used to attach the lamp to the miner's leather or cloth cap. These little lamps found their way to the US when miners emigrating from the British Isles brought them with them.

A wick was used to bring the fuel from the pot to the tip of the spout where it burned with a very smoky flame. The fuel was usually some type of lard, bacon grease, or tallow compound. It was common for the miner to burn whatever was cheap or on hand. In later years the miners adapted their lamps to burn "sunshine" oil which was a mixture of paraffin wax and mineral oil.

Miners found advantages in the oil wick lamp. They were cheaper and longer burning than tallow candles and the were very light weight. These tiny spout lamps were produced in many sizes by a number of manufacturers in the eastern United States and used primarily in the eastern coal mines. They did find their way west and they were used in the Mt Diablo Coal Fields in Northern California. These "teapot" lamps were phased out much like the candlestick with the advent of carbide lamps for mining use.


Antique Miners Oil Wick Teapot Lamp Copper And Zinc Hand Held


  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Materials: rope, zinc, copper
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 111 reviews
  • Favorited by: 103 people