Open Pottery Lamp

This is an open clay lamp with a flat bottom. The center of the lamp would have been filled with oil, with the wick dipping into the fuel.
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 third in his chronological development of underground lighting, of which he writes, “The first pottery lamps were made like a clam shell, except that the bottom was flat to prevent tipping over, they used olive oil in the south and some sort of fiber for the wick.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
lamp, pottery
overall: 1 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 3.81 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Industry & Manufacturing
Mining Lamps
Grant Wheat Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mining
Grant Wheat Collection
Mining Lamps
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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