• Questions for railroad experts familiar with lanterns

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by HighAndMightyColor
Gas lanterns are considered the brightest of the fuel lanterns because they use mantles that appreciably radiate visible light once they are heated.

Besides gas lanterns, those mantles were also apparently used on Aladdin lamps that burned liquid fuels.

However, I have yet to see those mantles used with historical fuels like vegetable oils and animal fat.
Were the vegetable oil lanterns ever experimented with the gas mantles? What is the required operating temperature for those mantles anyways? If the mantles were indeed used on vegetable oil lanterns, did the light output dulled faster than the ones used on gas lanterns?

There aren't that many historical-lanterns specific forums out there so I hope that there are some very knowledgeable people here who could help me (if somewhat). Am I right in presuming that the individual histories of railroads, minings, and non-electrical lamps are deeply interconnected?
  by FarmallBob
Quite simply a flat wick lantern flame fueled by vegetable/animal oil is not hot enough to heat a mantle to incandescence.

Further, unless the flame is perfectly adjusted these fuels quickly foul a mantle with soot which effectively ruins it. Note that even kerosene-fueled Aladdin lamps - mantle heated by a tubular burner/wick assembly - are fussy to keep from sooting until fully warmed.

Also....lamp mantles are delicate and sensitive to rough handling, vibration, etc. The only RR application of a mantle lamp I am aware of are Aladdin caboose lamps. These were equipped with a suspension system to absorb vibration:


  by HighAndMightyColor
Thank you particularly for the link, FarmallBob. Just to be clear, though, has the vegetable-oil Argand Lamp (with its efficient sleeve-shaped wicks and tubular glass chimneys) ever been experimented with the mantles?

Yes, the mantles would soot up real quick in such a scenario but those lamps were able to be used for cooking things in the same amount of time. Sadly, even if such experiments did occur, the publishings are not readily available to me.