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Burner frame from Argand hanging lamp

Date: c 1835
Dimensions:
Overall: 40 mm
Medium: Bright brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Lamp part
Object No: 00008696
Place Manufactured:England

User Terms

    Description
    This burner frame comes from a William IV bronze three arm hanging lamp. The lamp was designed by Aimé Argand, a Swiss physicist and chemist, circa 1835. The Argand hanging lamp was initially fuelled by whale oil before being converted to gas and then electricity.
    SignificanceThis burner frame from a whale oil lamp is typical of the type of lamps found in wealthy homes in Europe and America during the 19th century, where Australian whale oil from the sperm whale was favoured.
    HistoryFish, birds and animals have always been reliable sources of burnable oils. They were burnt in lamps from a variety of substances including shells, alabaster, clay and pewter. Oils that have been used in lamps over the years can generally be divided into two basic types: fixed oils and mineral oils. The fixed oils, also referred to as heavy oils, were used almost exclusively for lamps until the second half of the nineteenth century. They included marine oils such as spermaceti, sea elephant oil and seal oil, and vegetable oils such as colza oil. Mineral oils were cheaper and more efficient and so soon took over from the old fixed oils; they were the product of coil or petroleum distillation. They in turn were phased out when electricity was introduced.

    Probably the most widely manufactured lamp of all was referred to as the Argand burner (Aimé Argand 1755 - 1803). The oil was fed down from an oil font mounted above the level of the burner/s, using gravity to keep the burner full. Sometimes spices or sweet smelling herbs were placed in a shallow saucer directly over the flame - in an attempt to perfume the room or at least disguise the smoke and odour of burning whale oil. Oil lamps had to be trimmed, refilled, and the blackened shades regularly cleaned, generally on a daily basis.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Burner frame from Argand hanging lamp

    Primary title: BURNER FRAMES FROM HANGING LAMP, CIRCULAR BASE WITH CENTRE HOLE, CENTRE UPRIGHTS TERMINATING IN A BAND, WAX REMNANTS EVIDENT, THE FRAMES FIT OVER THE BURNERS OF THE HANGING LAMP

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