Miner’s Cap and Carbide Lamp

Miner’s Cap and Carbide Lamp

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Description (Brief)
This miner’s hat is made of canvas, with a leather brim and metal lamp bracket attached to the front of the cap. A miner’s carbide lamp is mounted onto the bracket. This type of hat and lamp would have been used together from around 1900 until the 1930s. Carbide lamps consisted of two chambers, an upper chamber holding water and a lower chamber holding calcium carbide. Acetylene gas is produced when water from the lamp's upper level encounters the calcium carbide stored in the base via a dripping mechanism. The gas is funneled to the burner, where it is lit by a match or a built-in striker. Miner safety became a big issue during the early 20th century, when mining accidents hit an all-time high. Congress established the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910 to improve miner safety, and miner’s hats began to turn to helmets, and electric lamps replaced the open flame of carbide and oil-wick lamps.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
lamp, cap, carbide, mining
Measurements
overall: 4 in x 12 in; 10.16 cm x 30.48 cm
ID Number
AG.MHI-MN-8146
accession number
239148
catalog number
MHI-MN-8146
Credit Line
Mary R. Wheat
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mining
Work
Industry & Manufacturing
Natural Resources
Mining Helmets
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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