Hi, What is the best fuel for side lamps? I hear kerosene smokes a lot. Tiki torch fuel?
They were made for kerosene. Any usable fuel will smoke with the wrong wick, an improperly trimmed wick, or not adjusted right. Lots of opinions out there on the best fuel to use, I use kerosene, no problems. Maybe MMO would work ? ; - )
Rich is right about kerosene, though I use department store lamp oil, which burns well and cuts down on the odor.
FWIW, I can now supply the correct 7/16" wick, which fits the wick adjusters properly and as such aids combustion. PM me if anyone's interested.
Ignacio i use this oil, burns well with hardly any smoke. Also trimming you wick like your fingernail gives you a nice flame.
Thank you for the responses. I've not used these before, so how do you trim the wick properly?
Usually I just whack 'em off with a sharp utility knife blade. I suppose one of those fancy wick trimmers would do better, but I'm too cheap to buy one. Never had any problems with 'em my way.
Like this. Please excuse the crude drawings.
Trim wicks even with the burner, put a small radius or bevel on the corners. After the wick has burned a bit the shape can be refined within the charred edge.
It has been suggested on other sites to stay away from paraffin based oils. The wax in them clogs the wick. Also mineral spirit based, burns too hot.
(Message edited by redmodelt on October 11, 2017)
Find jet fuel. Clean, nonsmoking, no wax. Use it with great success in antique lanterns.
I trim with scissors. As Rich says, bevel the corners. Kerosene works for me. Isn't jet fuel just a more expensive type of kerosene?
I think that jet fuel is cleaner more refined.
Jet A, Jp-8 and others sure are real close to kerosene. :-) Some industrial Diesel engine mfgr's even tweaked a few parts to suit the lighter (compared to #1 or #2 Diesel), fuels and stated the engines were allowed to use them. Dave, you tripped an old memory about these fuels and wax in the heavier fuels. :-)
Eh hem. Sorry. I used whatever was here and so far works good. Lamplight Farms Apple Pie Scented Lamp Oil, contains petroleum hydrocarbons. :-)
Kinds smells like pie in the jug but smells a whole lot like kero when I light 'em. I like it. :-)
I buy lamp oil from Walmart, works for me.
I have heard that jet fuel is kerosene. Thing is, kerosene, like fuel oil, comes in grades. Top grade is (or was) "pearl". Water clear, practically odorless. Below that, K-1, and K-2. Years ago, it was hard to tell if some kerosene was a few grades lower than K-2, or bulk oil vendors were "cutting" better kerosene grades with fuel oil, which has a strong odor. At least around here, "pearl" hasn't been available for decades. It would be interesting to know if jet fuel is the pearl grade. Where do you buy jet fuel ?
Have access to a shop that works on refuelers. Tanks have to be drained to repair. Look around for such a shop.
FWIW, charcoal lighter works well in my old Dietz lanterns. jb
According to what I skimmed from "stinkipedia", jet fuel is indeed kerosene, like kerosene comes in at least two grades, likely the only difference between jet fuel and kerosene are some special additives to jet fuel for use in different climates and to retard or eliminate static charge when streaming through delivery lines.
I've never lit mine. I thought about it the other day. I always use diesel in those kerosene lamps for a house but if you have it too high the globe can break. I use it in those heaters with a round wick too. I was going to use diesel.
I use simple lamp oil. Kerosene is designed to create heat not light wheras lamp oil is optimised for brightness.
My Stanley is set up to use kerosene in the main burner and hexane in the pilot light. There are no gas stations in northern NJ anywhere near me that sell kerosene from a pump. In many other places, kerosene is available from a pump, but the quality can be poor, resulting in carboned-up lines and jets. I take 5-gallon cans to a friendly local airport and fill them with Jet A. (Caution: not all airports are friendly.) As others have said, Jet A is highly refined and filtered kerosene. If it works at 35 thousand feet, it should be OK in my tired old Stanley. Yes, it's expensive. But, added to the other costs of touring in pretty nearly any early car, it's the merest of bagatelles. This is just one more thing to add to the pain in the a$$ - er, romantic adventure - of trying to go somewhere in a steam car.
John, what is "simple lamp oil" ? What is its composition compared to kerosene of whatever grade ?
I have noted that the best grade of kerosene (pearl, specifically for "lighting" and apparently no longer available, or at least under that name) gave a clear, bright white flame; lesser grades (K-1, K-2) yield good results, and lower grades veering into fuel oil and diesel give increasingly yellow flame, and the fuel itself veers from water-clear into straw, deeper colors of an amber tinge, and become increasingly odorous. It's pretty obvious the lower grades give less light, hard to say if they produce more heat in a lamp, but possibly they do ?
Kerosene, or as we called it, COAL OIL. I never heard the word Kerosene used. We, and everyone else, kept it in a small one gallon can, had a round sharp ended pour spot, lasted a long time. We didn't get electricity until after WW2 when the REA (Rural Electrification Administration) came by.
I don't remember anyone ever using those side lamps to drive by, when it got dark, we went in the House, and usually to bed, and there was no place to go anyway. If you had walked up on someone's porch late, if the dogs didn't get you, he would, just not much went on late.
We had several different kinds of lamps, but the one that was head and shoulders above all was the Aladdin. It used a round wick, or mantle, and actually gave off light, I have heard about 60 watts. I guess we just didn't know any better, like a lot of other stuff, and read and studied by the light of the old coal oil lamp and at least thought we could see.
The old flat wicks had to be trimmed almost on a daily basis, and there was a trick to it to get it to burn with a bluish flame, and not the common yellow flame. One had to get rid of the points, they smoked, a smooth, flat edge was always good. We made new wicks out of our old hand knitted socks, never throw anything away.
If you let them burn down too low, you got smoke and smell, and got fussed at. We used newspaper if available to clean the chimneys, nearly all other paper of the time was slick, and didn't do well, ask anyone who ever used a two holer.
In my working career in the Oilfields of the World, a by product of the Industry was "Drip Gas" or "Condensate". That stuff was straight out of the ground, and we burned it in our vehicles all the time, also the lamps of those in the area. It burned much cleaner and brighter that any coal oil available, I am not a Chemist, don't ask me why.
I still have several lamps, and keep them handy for storms or outages, and keep some Jet Fuel for just that purpose. My Grandmothers would put a teaspoon of gasoline in the lamp bowl, seemed to help, and yes, I know the hazards involved.
We are finally able to buy non ethanol gasoline here, I honestly believe it is a high grade coal oil, and has no odor, and is not slick like coal oil, I am tempted to try it in a lamp I don't care for, and leave it outside for awhile.
I vaguely remember a grade of coal oil being called Pearl, it was top of the line. When I would help out at our Country Store, we had a square metal tank for lubricating oil and one for Kerosene or Coal Oil. The folks that would come to the Store for a gallon in their gallon glass jugs would always want a nickels worth, that was all the money they had, and I would always fill the jug up for that nickel. I wish these biennials or triennials or whatever they are would go back and live the life for awhile.
I stock a variety of wicks, most all widths of flat wicks and the correct round wick for Alladins and the lager round wick for Rayos. Also the lock-on mantles and the adapters for the cone top mantle.
I've been using ultra-pure lamp oil from the hardware store. Seems to work fine and doesn't smoke. However, a friend at the Piquette Plant asked about what happens when it gets cold. Turns out the lamp oil freezes. Around 30 degrees it is slushy. How does kerosene do below 32 degrees F (or 0 degrees C)?
Typical temperature at jet altitudes is minus 30. If Jet A, which is basically kerosene, freezes, I hope all those flying crews are glider-certified.
I have heard that spermaceti oil is the best, but it is hard to find anymore.
Kerosene pretty much doesn't freeze. In fact, the Russians used it to keep their drill bit and borehole from freezing when they were trying to drill all the way through an Antarctic ice sheet and into the subglacial Lake Vostok. I think it was about 11,000 ft. There was a huge controversy about the kerosene potentially contaminating the lake.
I use K-1 kerosene and have no problem with lamps smoking.
Be sure the lamp doors and fonts are closed properly. Otherwise, the lamps will smoke and blow out while driving.
Ken in Texas