THE instructions for the maintenance and care of oil lamps are similar to those described in the previous article under the heading of OIL STOVES. The following details should, however, be given special note.
Fill with oil daily, and carefully wipe off any paraffin that may get on to the outside of the reservoir or on the burner. When first lighting a lamp for the evening, turn it down somewhat lower than the customary height; as the burner warms up the flame will rise a little. Do not buy a lamp with a cheap glass reservoir or one raised too high on a pedestal and therefore apt to be top-heavy.
Replace a broken chimney, even if it has only become shortened by the break. The chimney induces a proper draught up through the burner; if too short, it will not work properly. See that the chimney stands upright, and is firmly gripped by the sides of the carrier. If necessary, bend the brasswork inwards a trifle. Do not attempt to fill a lamp while still alight. To extinguish a lamp, turn the wick low first, then blow across the top of the chimney, or through the burner from the side; do not blow dozen the chimney. In lamps provided with an extinguisher, turn the wick low before operating the extinguisher.
Lamps with a tubular wick have an air passage through the centre of the burner, which permits a more plentiful supply -of air than is possible with the flat-wick burners. The lamp should stand so that this opening at the foot is not blocked. Regularly clean the burners of all lamps by rinsing in warm soda water, using a stiff brush to remove any matter blocking the perforated parts. When inserting the wick, turn the wheel gently until it is certain that the wick has been gripped and is feeding correctly. Oil lamps using an incandescent mantle should be cared for and operated according to the maker’s instructions. Apart from these special points, cleanliness and regular attention are called for, as with other types.
It is not safe to leave any oil lamp unattended for long; at the best the lamp may gather heat and the flame may rise too high, leading to a cracked chimney and a profusion of smoke. At the worst, the lamp may become overheated and cause it to become dangerous.