Oil-Wick Cap Lamp

This oil-wick cap lamp was made by John Dunlap of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the second half of the 19th century. The oil-wick cap lamp was first invented in Scotland in 1850 and in use until the 1920’s. The font contained a mix of fat and oil for fuel, and a wick was inserted into the spout. The resulting flame was much brighter and more efficient than the candles it replaced. The hook enabled the lamp to be worn on a cap. This lamp has a double-spout, indicating that it could have burned "Sunshine" fuel, a mixture of paraffin wax and 3% mineral oil produced by the Standard Oil Company. Often called a "Sunshine Lamp," the outer spout served to insulate the wick in the inner spout, thereby conducting enough heat to melt the wax.
Currently not on view
Object Name
lamp, oil, cap, mining
overall: 3 3/8 in x 1 5/8 in x 4 in; 8.636 cm x 4.064 cm x 10.16 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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