Pine Knot Torch

This is a pine knot torch that is covered on one end with in tree rosin.
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 torch was his first example of underground lighting, which he described as “early cave dwellers kept a fire at the entrance of their cave for protection and warmth. They took a burning stick from the fire when they went into the cave. They discovered that a pine knot or a pair of fatty pine would burn longer than an ordinary stick. They also discovered that the torch would last longer by dipping it into the pitch of rosin from the trees."
Currently not on view
Object Name
pine knot
overall: 25 in x 1 in; 63.5 cm x 2.54 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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