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#201033 - 04/26/10 10:39 PM kerosene lanterns / lamps
DFW Offline

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 80
I have several "kerosene" lamps around the house, and have found them to be useful in power outages. I recently bought a kerosene cooker (for cooking and heat source) and besides the many flashlights I have, I've looked at Dietz lanterns.

First I read liquid paraffin was no good for any type of flat-wick device, since it clogs and fouls the wick. OK, so now what do I do with several large bottles of liquid paraffin?

Then I found a very extensive website where the author says THE thing to use in place of smelly kerosene is "odor-free mineral spirits." After buying a few gallons of that, I find on several sites selling Dietz lanterns that it should NEVER, EVER be used in lanters and lamps, because of the danger of flashpoints and igniting fumes that develop or something..... Again, it is unlikely I will paint enough in my lifetime to use all that paint thinner.

Before I waste any more money - or blow myself up - is there a difinitive position about fuel for these? Kerosene is no piece of cake either - since the fumes can get so bad.

I'm sure if this has been discussed before, someone will direct me to that thread.

#201037 - 04/26/10 10:56 PM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: DFW]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1417
Loc: Nothern Ontario
The best advise is from W. T. Kirkman Oil and Electric Lanterns website. (Scroll down about 1/2 way down the page on the provided link)

This company operates a very well known and reputable website whom I have purchased from in the past.

Their advise about not using mineral spirits should not be ignored...even though some people have used spirits without issue. I would imagine that if your home caught fire from mineral spirits, your insurance company would be very unwilling to cover the resulting loses.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#201042 - 04/27/10 12:32 AM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: Teslinhiker]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7705
Loc: southern Cal
.thanks for the link. There is some great information there for an historical archaeologist, something I still do occasionally.
Geezer in Chief

#201044 - 04/27/10 12:36 AM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: Teslinhiker]
GarlyDog Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
My Dietz lantern instructions say use kerosene.

To get rid of the liquid paraffin, try http://www.freecycle.org

#201055 - 04/27/10 03:01 AM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: GarlyDog]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1853
everything you need to know about kerosene and it's use in pressure lamps and stoves--Primus--is at Classic Camp Stoves.
millions,billions really,around the world use "kero" for heat,light and cooking everyday.

#201056 - 04/27/10 05:36 AM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: CANOEDOGS]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 3201
Loc: Alberta, Canada
A few random thoughts (feel free to disagree):

First, Dietz lanterns are *excellent*. Unlike the cheap knockoffs, they are built to work, and to last. You will not regret buying one. I bought two on a Y2K closeout; I should have bought five more.

Second, liquid paraffin may in theory clog wicks. (I believe it's sold here as "odourless kerosene" at a premium price; at cold temperatures I have actually seen it turn into a solid.) But that's no reason to use it. Wicks are cheap and easily replaced. Serious outdoor outfitters around here sell flat wicking my the yard (metre actually). So there's no reason not to keep this fuel and use it. In most situations it will burn well enough to do the job. And if you have to remove wicks because they appear to be clogged up, just soak them in the paint thinner. Voila! Don't make it more complex than it needs to be.

Third, it's worth remembering that "kerosene" is a cocktail of various petro-products which add up to an accepted range of characteristics. In a genuine emergency, I wouldn't hesitate to test a mix of, for example, 80% liquid paraffin and 20% mineral spirits. My guess is that this would approximate off-the-shelf kerosene quite well. I would of course test this outside, with appropriate safeguards; and I would be exceedingly cautious about using it indoors. (BIG FAT DISCLAIMER: This is pure speculation; it is not a recommendation. Use your own judgement, at your own risk.)

P.S., Thanks Teslinhiker for the excellent link. An interesting read. There's always more to learn.

#201058 - 04/27/10 06:21 AM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: DFW]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
Olive oil makes an excellent fuel. Only problem is the wick needs to be very close to the oil cause it doesn't travel up the wick very well. Might work with a fat wick. If you have an old lantern it might be worth a try.

#201069 - 04/27/10 01:59 PM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: LED]
rebwa Offline

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
I have several of the Dietz lanterns that I've had for years and they are very good lanterns. I only use mine outside attached to a couple of metal posts with gravel under them. I use kerosene or lamp oil in them. I have pets and too much risk to bring a device like a lantern inside.

#201074 - 04/27/10 05:14 PM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: DFW]
philip Offline

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I'm not sure why you're looking for an alternative to kerosene. My grandmother had a house full of kerosene lamps when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, and I'm not aware that there were dangers other than the usual with flames.

Back in the 70s or 80s, there was a big trend for kerosene heaters in homes, and several of my friends had them. I can't remember if they even vented them. Just a big stove on the floor in the middle of the room with a pan of water to provide some humidity as it evaporated.

Are you having fumes from the lamps? There were no fumes in Grandma's house, but it was built in the 20s or 30s, so there was no insulation and it was definitely not air tight. I don't recall fumes from the kerosene stoves people had for home heating in the 70s or whenever.

#201077 - 04/27/10 05:57 PM Re: kerosene lanterns / lamps [Re: DFW]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Why not use electric lighting. Its safer and much much more efficient especially with the latest LED technology. 10-20W of LED light will easily provide around 500-1000 Lumen, which is more than adequate to light a room and much brighter than any Paraffin lamp in an emergency. A peak load of 100W will light an entire modest home during an emergency. You've just got to figure out where you are going to get 100W of electrical power. Best to save the Paraffin for the cooking, but even then I would move away from Paraffin and go over to bottled LPG instead as a fuel source, which is easy and safer to store and more flexible to use.

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