Welcome to our discussion on kerosene lamp chimneys. I’m providing a brief history and background on kerosene lamp chimneys. I’m going to give you easy instructions on selecting the best chimney for your lamp. I’ll talk about stocking the best selling chimneys for your store. Your opinions are always valued and appreciated, as we try to discover the truth about lighting.
Secrets Will Be Revealed from this line -
- Our Best Selling Chimneys
It has been said that up until the kerosene era, most people in
North America went to bed with the
chickens. The discovery of kerosene in
1859, leading to the rapid development of kerosene fueled lighting devices, was
truly advanced technology of the time. Kerosene fueled lighting devices (oil
lamps) allowed people to stay up after dark.
Businesses could keep later hours.
By the late 1800’s, the glass
industry was booming in America and hundreds of factories located in New
England, the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states were producing millions of
kerosene lighting devices. When electricity became the predominant lighting
choice, many kerosene burners were converted to electric, leaving the original “oil
lamp” burner with an electric socket installed. Of course, every kerosene
burner and “converted” lamp burner required a lamp chimney. Lamp chimneys had
to be cleaned, were easily broken and had to be replaced. Merchants soon discovered a new and exciting product
line – replacement lamp chimneys.
The purpose of a lamp chimney
The lamp chimney is the glass tube that encloses the flame of the lamp, thus preventing side drafts from extinguishing or distorting the lamp flame. Chimneys are shaped to achieve the best, most brilliant light output from the burner.
Two Basic chimney glass formulas and three basic production techniques
● Soda-lime-silica glass – This formula was discovered in 1864, and is a type of glass that was inexpensive to produce and generally a fine quality, which competed with leaded glass. The raw materials were usually mixed into a clay pot and heated to molten form.
Glass makers working with soda-lime-silica glass had the option of using 3 production techniques; free blown, mouth blown into a mold, or pressed into a mold to final form.
● Borosilicate glass – This is a type of lampworking process. The glass is made using a silica and boron trioxide formula which is known to be more resistant to stress cracks caused by rapid changes in temperature than soda-lime-silica glass. The mix of raw materials is initially formed into a hardened glass tube then re-heated by torch and mouth blown into a mold to the final form.
Some common imperfections which can be found in soda-lime-silica glass include cords, seeds and greenish tint color
● Cords – a “thread” of glass is formed when the gatherer moves from a completed chimney to the next chimney and carries over a thin “thread” which was leftover from the completed chimney.
● Seeds – tiny air bubbles in the glass caused by uneven furnace heat within the pot of glass.
● Greenish tint color – rather than a purely clear color, the glass can have a greenish tint caused by impurities such as iron in the batch.
The above types of imperfections are more likely to be found in recent production soda-lime-silica glass. These imperfections are often caused by rushed production, lack of glass-maker’s skill, or inferior production techniques. (However very good production may be found in antique soda-lime-silica glass chimneys, produced during a time when factory production was consistent and glassmaker’s skills highly valued.)
Choosing the best quality current production chimney glass
My opinion is that borosilicate glass lamp chimneys are more heat resistant, uniformly thick, are relatively free of cords and seeds and have a very clear color. This is the type of chimney glass most customers are looking for today. Ninety-five percent of the chimneys offered for sale (by B&P Lamp Supply) are made from borosilicate glass and trademarked Royal Craft.
Choosing the correct size chimney for your lamp
As mentioned, there have been millions of glass kerosene lamps made over the past 180 years. And there were many different lamp burners made to fit these lamps. To simplify selecting a replacement chimney for your burner and lamp, I recommend that you take the following simple steps;
1) Identify your burner (and chimney base) style. There were 4 basic burner styles, which lamp chimney bases are designed to fit;
Hinged burner – fits flanged base chimney – early 1860’s – 1890’s
Pronged burner – fits straight base chimney – late 1860’s – present time
Gallery burner – fits straight base chimney – late 1860’s – present time
Lox on Burner – fits screw type base chimney – used by Aladdin Industries late 1940’s– present time.
2) Measure your burner to determine the correct base diameter – (called fitter size) - for the replacement chimney
3) Measure to determine the chimney height needed. Steps 2 and 3 are illustrated in the B&P How-To Chimney Section.
Once you have determined the chimney base style, the chimney base diameter (fitter size) and the approximate height needed, you can select the chimney needed for your lamp by visiting B&P Lamp Chimneys.
You might ask - which chimneys should I stock for my showroom?
Even though there are over 100 current-production replacement chimneys to choose from, there is no need to be intimidated. You may start with the 10 most popular replacement lamp chimneys from this group, which are listed below. Can you suggest others that should be added to the Top 10 list?
Top 10 most popular lamp chimneys
All these chimneys can be found in B&P Lamp Supply 2012 Lamp Glass Catalog
In terms of current sales and popularity, the above Top 10 list is closely followed by popular miniature chimneys and big bulge chimneys.
|Big Bulge Chimney|
Your store should enjoy great success by stocking these and once you discover the particular needs of your local customers, other quality chimney selections may be easily added to complete your line.
In conclusion: In
America, kerosene lamps, burners, and their chimneys have been in
wide spread use for over 180 years. There were millions of kerosene lamps made
and at one time they were used in almost every home, business and institution
in North America. Today there is still a good
market for replacement lamp chimneys for use on both kerosene and kerosene
converted to electric burners. With a
little practice, it is easy to select chimneys for your lamps or for stocking
Thank you for reading.
All the best,