Open Pottery Lamp

This is an open clay lamp with rolled sides and a flat bottom to prevent any fuel spilling. The wick can be seen inside the lamp. The center of the lamp would have been filled with oil, with the wick running from the spout down into the font.
Electric cap lamp inventor Grant Wheat’s personal collection of mining lamps was donated to the museum in 1962. Many of these objects were depicted in his “Story of Underground Lighting” published in the “Proceedings of the Illinois Mining Institute” in 1945. This lamp is fourth in his chronological development of underground lighting which he describes as a “pottery lamp with sides rolled in to provide an outlet for the wick and prevent spillage. Following this came the complete covering of the top of the vessel which left a hole for the wick and one for replenishing with olive oil.”
Currently not on view
overall: 2 in x 3 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 5.08 cm x 8.89 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Mary R. Wheat
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mining
Industry & Manufacturing
Grant Wheat Collection
Mining Lamps
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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