does any of you seasoned veterans have any recommendations on how to keep lamps lit while driving?
Actually, they're not really meant for driving.
When old farts in the old-car hobby wax nostalgic, it's usually about stuff other than Zippo lighters, fountain pens and non-self-defrosting fridgidaires. -And so it is with yours truly, whom, just recently, was discussing the origin of the term, "parking-lights," with some other antique car aficionados. -As I recall, back when I was a kid, the first click of the pull-out switch on the dashboard of our family's '55 Pontiac Star-Chief activated not the headlights, but the "parking lights." -I remember wondering why they were called that as nobody I knew ever turned them on to park the car.-
I had once asked my Dad about it (He being the former owner of a Model T Ford during the tail-end of its heyday, just before WWII) and according to him, "parking lights" was another term for the kerosene lanterns on a Model T's cowl and tail. -That was because in some parts of the country, there were once local laws regarding the parking of carriages (horseless and otherwise) on public streets which required that such vehicles be kept illuminated after dark. -I'd never heard of such a thing (but then again, at that age, my experience was so limited, I'd yet to be disabused of the misconception that the grandparents of every American child spoke with an Italian accent).
Such nostalgic musings put me in memory of other late-1950's automobile-associated gadgets like the springy-sproingy curb-feelers which married men would affix to the rocker panels of their cars, and the clear amber-tipped thermometer-looking thingies installed so as to mark the front corners of the same vehicles. -See, back then, it was thought that women were pretty much helpless around machinery of any kind—a quaint notion indeed, considering so many "Rosie-the-Riveters" had only just recently built hundreds of thousands of jeeps, trucks, tanks and aircraft for the war effort. -Nevertheless, my Mom did the veiled pillbox hat, white gloves, hi-heels and scared-of-bugs thing, as did most clever women, which got them out of dirty jobs they really could have done just fine and fed the naïve egos of their husbands—an arrangement which, for decades, kept both sides quite happy. -Oh, for the days!
Turn the wick a little higher and slow down.Make sure your doors close tight and you also might need better fuel? Almost every car with them has them lite for the Gaslight tour at the OCF!
Perhaps try a proper "Lamp oil" rather than just kerosene ??
I have run mine at 30-35 and they stayed lit just using kerosene. What year lamps are you talking about?
Lamp oil is a problem in cold weather, it will solidify. It is best to use Kerosene.
The Ford supplied oil lamps are made to be used at driving speed as well as for parking.
If your doors don't close good the lamps will smoke and blow out. They are what is called a hot blast lamp and are made to be closed good like Ken said above.
I have John Brown 110 side and 115 tail. The air goes in the holes at the top of the lamp. Both the doors and the font locks must be closed good. Driving into a wind gust at 35+ mph will not put them out and I burn K1 kerosene. They will burn for 20 hours or more on a font of kerosene and I usually leave them burning even when I am parked.
The doors on some of the round lamps that came out in 1915 didn't close good and Ford put out the following notice,
The round lamps are also hot blast so the door must be closed flush with the lamp or they will smoke or blow out at speed just like the square lamps. Set your flame/wick height after the lamp burns for a couple of minutes and heats up.
Ken in Texas
I haven't got any side lamps, but I do have a kerosene tail light on my primitive pickup and I have had a struggle to keep it light when driving outside the 30 mph signs in town..
I also thought it was odd that it felt a bit wiggly even though I tightened the nut.. Well, the bracket is homemade, so last week I took the light off and checked why it wouldn't tighten - tested with a thin washer between the lamp and my bracket - then it got really tight!
Success - drove 50 miles to a swap meet saturday morning at my usual 45-50 mph and it stayed lit all the way
Ok, tested top speed at a short stretch of freeway on the way home (62 by GPS) - then the tail light was blown out when I came home, so there are limits.. ;)
I find "Ultra-Pure" brand lamp oil made by "Lamplight" seldom ever blows out on my side lights. My tail light is a little more apt to blow out, but still not often and certainly not as often as when I used kerosene. We have mild winters here in southern Georgia, so I can't say what it will do in a harsh winter. I did try putting some in the freezer and it did freeze. However, with either vehicle parked indoors, it's never gotten cold enough for them not to light. Indiana? I couldn't say.
I don't think the type of oil burned would make a lot of difference, but maybe a felt O ring around the rim would.
Has anybody ever seen the "flanged rings with felt packing" that Ken cites?
Has anybody tried to make any felt rings?
: ^ )
I've used lamp oil and kerosene and found kerosene to be much better. The lamps stay lit and don't seem to smoke as much.
What is "lamp oil" ?!? Until the appearance of such frilly stuff sold in "boo-teeks" in tiny amounts for ridiculous prices ( often scented as well) kerosene was the fuel used in lamps of all types, generally sold at the local oil bulk plant.
Like many items, kerosene comes in grades. "Pearl" was the top grade for home use, water clear and nearly odorless. It's no longer available. Next is "K-1", then "K-2". More odor and some straw color.
Lamp oil doesn't smell bad like kerosene. I buy it at a local wholesale grocer by the gallon.
But what is it ?? If it gels in the cold, it's more nearly like a poor grade of diesel. Sensitivity to odors is, of course a personal thing. K-1 doesn't smell much (IMHO). Some sources will cut kerosene with diesel fuel, and that does stink !!
Lamp oil is one grade above kerosene. It is the same product used in bug spray. In England lamp oil is called paraffin. It is paraffin based. That is why is some of the lamp oil turns solid in cold weather. We sell it by the small bottle in our store since we stock oil lamps and parts including wicks.
They are on my 17 runabout, they appear to be original however? I'm thankful for everyone's input. I will try and find some K-1 kerosene and make sure my doors fit snug. Would still like to know if there is flanged rings with felt packing available. Thanks again fella's!
My friend, who lights his home with kerosene lamps, says that paraffin oil, a.k.a. lamp oil, will eventually clog your wicks. He hates the stuff.
In addition to other advice, I'll add a suggestion to trim your wicks. Snip off any burnt ends periodically, as kerosene will not capillary to the end of the wick where it's simply just burned carbon. The burnt ends will cause the flame to start ever lower on the wick, making a poor flame.
I drove my 16 touring many times with cowl and tail lamps, lit, and never had a problem with them staying lit. Same thing with the cowl lamps on my 23 depot hack. Always used kerosene; hadn't even heard of lamp oil then.
The stuff I use smells like a candle burning, is clear as water, and will only smoke if you turn the flame up way high. Use what you will. This works for me.
The 15,16 and into 17 lamps had a series of holes in the upper chimney that were discontinued thereafter because the lamps were blowing out. All of the later models had no holes. The chimneys could be interchanged with later models. The correct models for the 15 - 16 cars should have the holes in the chimneys.
I'm going to use oil with citronella (like for yard tiki torches), not only will it burn but will help with the mosquitoes.....ha
In addition, the wick mechanism is broken on my rear light. I went to Hobby Lobby and picket up a couple of battery operated LED pumpkin lights that flicker like candles. Looks good in the garage
Here is a 15 with the holes in the chimney