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How to use and care for an oil lamp

Using and caring for an oil or kerosene lamp

Caution: Keep an oil lamp well away from sparks, high heat, and flames. If you live where power failures are frequent, it’s wise to keep one or two oil lamps on hand. Fill a lamp only with kerosene or bottled lamp oil. Be sure to seal the fuel container and put it away before lighting the lamp.

Before lighting a new wick, let it become saturated all the way to the top. To light the lamp, remove the chimney and turn up the wick just far enough to be able to apply a match. Quickly put the chimney back on and turn down the wick until the flame is smokeless. The wick’s tip will usually be well below the flame orifice’s top edge. If the flame stays smoky. clean out the burner’s air-intake holes with a straightened-out paper clip. If it burns unevenly, trim the wick square with scissors. Always put out the flame and let the chimney cool before fixing the lamp. To extinguish the lamp, just blow into the top of the chimney; don’t turn down the wick.

After each use, wash the chimney with soap and warm water. You can buy new wicks, chimneys, and burners at most hardware stores.