This is to report that I’ve completed among my New Year’s resolutions: I made a ceramic oil lamp.

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Regular readers will understand that I’m a tiny obsessed through lamps that burn cooking oil instead of kerosene.

I prefer them so much, I made a small seashell oil lamp the exceptionally first task in our book Making It. As a son of the electric age it repeatedly amazes me that I deserve to make light so quickly via cooking oil. Also, in reproducing these lights, I feel a link to background. I’ve no doubt that my ancestors gathered approximately fish oil lamps in the north and olive oil lamps in the south.

To include to their churts, they aren’t based on petroleum–as paraffin tea candles are, for example–and they’re non-toxic. They’re relatively safe, compared to kerosene, in that vegetable oil has actually such a high flash suggest. And ultimately, in their list of virtues, they’re cheap. They can be improvised out points favor jar lids and Altoids tins, and also I usage rancid and also otherwise questionable oils to fuel them — oils which I would otherwise throw out.

This ceramic lamp even more sophisticated than the bit lamps I’ve made previously. It’s based on the standard-version Mediterranean oil lamp which was common throughout the prehistoric civilization. Old Romans had cheap terra cotta lamps in this shape which were stamped via the names of renowned gladiators–the primitive equivalent of a 7-Eleven superhero cup. Nowadays I think these lamps are conventional stock in the Divine Land tourist trade.

At any type of price, I’ve always wanted one, so I built one. Next off I desire to make more of them in even more facility forms–deindicators with two and also four flame outlets.

The worqueens of the lamp are quite easy. Inside is the oil reservoir. There’s a fill hole on the peak, which I capped via a small leaf to store the cats from sampling the oil. The height is convex, the slope leading to the fill hole, so it’s easy to optimal off without spilling oil. I fiburned a piece of cotton rag up through the “nose” to serve as a wick. The wick is lengthy sufficient that it exhas a tendency into the primary body of the lamp. All ancient lamps are low-slung prefer this. The fuel appears to attract better when the wick is practically horizontal.

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The lamp is smaller than you might think from the picture–it fits in the palm of my hand. Due to its dimension, and also the fact that the wall surfaces are thick because I’m still pretty clumsy at the clay work, the reservoir only holds about 2 tablespoons of oil. Nonetheless, that much oil gives a strong bideal flame for 4 1/2 hrs.