The oil lantern is one of humanities oldest inventions. Even before the petroleum products were discovered, whales were being hunted for their precious oil. The oil lantern has been an important source of light for hundreds of years. In some societies around the world, it is still the only viable source of light available. For those who enjoy the great outdoors, it is still a reliable source of light. The oil lantern is preferable to using a candle since the flame produced flickers less and is much brighter. Learning how to light an oil lantern may come in handy one day!
How to Light the Lantern
The first step to lighting an oil lantern is to understand how it works. The oil lantern uses a very simple rule of physics. This is the fact that cloth easily absorbs oil. The most used type of oil is paraffin. This is a very efficient way to light up an oil lantern. However, other oils can be used. It is however important that you confirm the oil you are using is actually safe. As such, I would not recommend using a fuel if you are unsure.
The oil lamp produces light through a wick that is lit using a match. The wick fails to burn away because it is constantly absorbing fuel, which burns instead of the cloth. The oil used is stored in an empty container located at the bottom of the oil lantern.
When lighting an oil lantern, you should fist remove the glass covering. This can be done by pulling at the top of the lantern while holding the base with the other hand. This will see the glass cover tilt to the side. Also, it also exposes the wick holder. The holder should be fitted with a wick. If the wick is already present and it looks old, it should be promptly replaced. A dirty wick usually produces an unstable and sooty flame.
The wick holder should be lifted from its position to expose a hole in the middle. This is the point at which you insert the fuel. The lantern may have markings indicating its capacity. If this is the case, the oil lantern should never be filled more than halfway. After putting oil in the base of the lamp, you should clearly examine it for any leaks. If there are indeed cracks that are leaking fuel, the operation should be aborted. Failure to adhere to these could lead to serious consequences. A dented oil lantern should never be used. The edges of the wick should be trimmed to remove any unevenness. This can be done with scissors.
If the glass covering is dirty, it should be wiped clean with a dry cloth or paper towels. You should avoid using water; it leaves streaks, which make the flame appear dim. After wiping the glass, you should then light the wick using a wooden matchstick. The glass cover should then be carefully put back into position. Putting the glass cover should be done relatively fast. Otherwise, it will be covered in soot from the burning flame. The flame then needs to be adjust using the knob on the side until a clear soot-free flame is achieved. If the flame appears to burn out of control, it might be an indication there is a problem.
After this, you need to place the lantern in an area where it cannot be tipped over easily. In most cases, it would be a good idea to hang it from an area with little human traffic. Another important point to remember is that the lantern should be placed away from fabrics. This means that if you are on a camping trip, the lantern and the supplies backpack should be on opposite sides of the tent.
I would also recommend keeping the lantern away from kid’s reach. If you are bringing your kids along on a camping trip, mention to them in a stern voice that the lantern is off limits. If they must encounter it, tell them how to operate it. For instance, you could tell them never to refill it with oil while the wick is still lit. Another important point to remember is that after the lamp has been turned off, you should never try to refill with fuel. This is because you might end up burning your hands.
You should avoid putting the oil in direct sunlight; this is an important point to remember. For instance, when on a hiking trip, the oil for use in the lantern should be placed in a shaded area. In case the oil spills, it needs to be wiped off immediately. Otherwise, an open flame such as from a matchstick could set the whole tent on fire. If oil spills on the clothes, they should be placed outside until the oil dries. If possible, this clothes needs to be washed.
Oil Lanterns as a Mosquito Repellant
When you are on a camping trip, one of the biggest problems you will face is bugs. Mosquitos especially can have an itchy bite. This bite can ruin a perfectly good hiking trip. However, this does not have to be a problem. Most people tend to use mosquito repellant, which they apply on their skin. This only works to keep the mosquitos from biting you. They do still keep buzzing around your ears, denying you sleep.
Another downside to using mosquito repellant is that it easily is wiped off as you sleep. As a result, you will still have to wake up at some point in the night to reapply. I recommend using the oil lantern, which is a very effective mosquito repellant. Adding citronella oil or eucalyptus oil into the fuel chamber is an effective way to keep away mosquitos. This remedy has been used for hundreds of years with a lot of success. Only a small amount of the citronella oil should be added into the oil lantern.
I hope this guide on how to light an oil lamp will be useful to you. You should also take the safety tips spelled out seriously. They could be the difference between a successful hiking trip and an unplanned return home.