Miner’s Safety Lamp

Description (Brief)
This is a safety lamp manufactured by the Wolf Safety Lamp Company of America in the early 20th century. This lamp is one of the most popular Wolf designs, employing a glass enclosure, wire gauze on the top-interior, and a metal bonnet exterior to protect the flame. The "permissible" engraved on the lamp means the lamp was approved by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and the lines on the glass portion suggest the lamp was used to judge methane levels. A plaque on the bottom reads: Wolf Safety lamp Co. of America, Inc. New York, USA. There is a plaque on the bottom of the lamp that reads: Mine Safety Appliance Co., Pittsburgh, USA.
Currently not on view
overall: 15 in x 4 in x 4 in; 38.1 cm x 10.16 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Ralph Ditzler
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Work and Industry: Mining
Industry & Manufacturing
Natural Resources
Mining Lamps
Data Source
National Museum of American History


I have a Wolf safety lamp Made in Germany Wolf Special no.1 is printed on glass Wolf's - Lamp Pat. no. 302878 322514 453456 497699 509418 Is stamped into the bottom ring above the fuel tank. Any one know anything about this thing. All the info I have seen says they were made in USA New York
I have one that was my dads. He worked for Michigan Bell Telephone where they used them to go into manholes. It is one with a mirror Attached. I believe he used it in the 50’s. ?
I just purchased one on ebay. I was a coal miner and these type lamps were used to check for methane accumulations in coal mines - for each elevation of the flame to the next line on the glass globe it was considered to to be 1% methane per line. The explosive range of methane is 5 to 15% and this lamp was used to determine if it was safe for men to enter the area that was checked. Mine laws dictate that any accumulation of 2% is an immediate removal of all personnel and the de-energizing of all equipment in that area until the level is brought into an atmosphere of less than 2%. I do have a question - on the one I bought, which is just like the one pictured there was a factory mounted mirror attached on one side and a pipe nipple that seemed to be a way to fill the lamp without taking it apart. Anyone know anything about those two items on the lamp I purchased?
Not sure how to disassemble this lamp
What type fuel should be used? I have it operating on naphtha (lighter fluid) at the moment and it operates perfectly. Just wondering if there is something better available. Thanks.
"I've recently acquired one of these lamps. It does not have the glass enclosure and I'm not sure what your comments indicate regarding the wire guaze - anyway it doesn't have anything that looks like that to me. The brass ring around the base of the area where the glass would have been, the ring with the nipple and the square screw head enclosed, on the back side it is stamped "USN 06 ". Do you have any information what the Navy may have used these lamps for?Thank you,Chris Senn"
"I have one of these lamps we used for transformer vault entry. There should be a brass screen inside the lamp, this keeps the flame from spreading out side the lamp in an encounter with explosive gasses. The Navy probably used it for " safe " entry into confined areas, eg. Fuel bunkers, holds or other areas that could have build up of gasses or " dead " oxygen deficient air."

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