|This is an ancient sorta lamp right here. atrb ranil|
In the process of this, I came up with some information on how oil lamps work. I had not given they mysteries of oil lamps a great deal of thought in all the long and busy years of my life, but from time to time I had wondered why the wick doesn't burn up. All that fire, y'know.
Turns out the wick is merely an agent to 'wick' liquid to the fire. The flammable liquid gets drawn up near the fire and vaporizes from the heat thereof and the vapor burns. The flame is located actually a bit above the wick when everything is going well. The wick gets charred from the proximity of the flame, but it doesn't provide the fuel of the flame, just a convenient perch for it.
Oil lamps were discovered independently all over the world, from Eskimo igloos to the deserts of Arabia, from Mayan hill villages to the plains of central China --
(unless you are of the school of thought that figures our ancestors were too stupid to figure out astronomy and agriculture all on their own and it was handed down by aliens, in which case I would very much like some of them to drop by and do my taxes for me, thank you,) --
all of which is very clever of people since I would not have thought this oil lamp stuff up myself.
|Step Two: Adding yer olive oil|
Being of an inquiring mind, I set out to create an oil lamp. That's what all those pictures along the side are: me reverse-engineering primitive lamp.
Step One: I took one of my spoon rests -- this one is from a Polish pottery. It has traditional decorations, but I kinda doubt the spoonrest part is traditional. And it had a promising shape.
|Step Three: The shoelace|
|Cutting that to length|
Step Three: Lamp wicks, by 1800, were braided. Dunnoh why 'zackly but this evidently helps them do their wicking thing. So I figgered a shoelace would work. Use cotton, is my advice. I don't say that something polyesterish won't work, but I can almost guarantee it is not authentic to 1800.
|Step Four: Soak the lace for a bit|
|Pull the wick up|
and then light it.
|The moment of truth|
Step Five: Voila. You have your ancient oil lamp, not all that dissimilar to the ones that burnt over the desk of Homer or Voltaire, Murasaki Shikibu or Da Vinci.
I was, frankly, amazed that this worked.
|And it burns the wick some|
|It flares up at first|
|Then it settles down to a nice steady light|