Davy Safety Lamp

This Davy-style safety lamp was used by the Alden Coal Company during the early 20th century, and presented to Grant Wheat by the Alden Coal Company in 1920. The lamp is called a safety lamp because it can be used safely in the presence of flammable gas. The lamp has a domed metal top that bears the inscription “[AL]DEN COAL CO.” It is similar in style to the flame safety lamp developed by Sir Humphry Davy in 1815. Davy discovered that surrounding the flame with a fine wire gauze would cool the flame to such an extent that it could not ignite the flammable gas surrounding the lamp. This lamp was used by fire bosses (mine inspectors) to test whether there was flammable gas present in the mine well into the 20th century.
Currently not on view
overall: 8 1/2 in; 21.59 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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