How to use hurricane lamps

The hurricane lamp is a simple fixture that uses a glass chimney or shield to prevent its flame from blowing out. When candles were needed for interior lighting, a glass chimney was used to protect the flame of the candle from such ordinary events as a door swinging shut. Hurricane lamps were then designed that used wicks with an oil, kerosene or other types of flammable fluid to provide the wick with fuel.

Hurricane lamps offer more than just aesthetic value to any household. Although some are now manufactured as electric lamps, these cosmetic lamps may offer ambience but defeat the purpose in the event of a power outage. Having an authentic oil, kerosene or candle hurricane lamp is a great way to add some ambience to the home in the winter months, and they even provide some additional heating.

Remove the chimney and place a candle into the small holder of a hurricane lamp. Candlelit hurricane lamps may use candlesticks, votive-sized candles or tea lights. Light the wick of the candle with a match and carefully place the chimney onto the base.

Remove the chimney on the fuel-based hurricane lamp. Common oil lamps and kerosene lamps are the most popular, but there are other types of fuel that can be used.

Remove the wick cover from the top of the lamp (if applicable). The wick cover usually has a hinged tab that can be easily lifted up and removed from the cover. The wick cover protects the wick and controls the flame.

Unscrew the cover of the lamp from the lamp base or fuel container. Pour the fluid into the container or base. Do not fill to the top. Allow an air gap between the top of the base and the fluid.

Soak the wick in the fluid. Dip one side into the lamp and turn it over to dip the other side. Thread the wick into the crank of the lamp cover and turn the crank to feed the wick up into the cover.

Replace the cover and tighten. Adjust the height of the wick. It should only reach slightly above the cover.

Light the wick with a match and adjust the wick down low. Place the chimney onto the hurricane lamp and then readjust the wick height to the desired glow of light.

Blow out the hurricane light (any type) by blowing into the top of the chimney. Do not turn the wick down inside the crank to extinguish the flame. The oil or kerosene is obviously flammable and even a snuffed out wick can ignite the fuel in the base. Place your face close to the chimney (not on tip where you could easily burn your face) and gently blow into the chimney to extinguish the flame.

Maintain your hurricane lamp by trimming the wick after repeated use. Replace the wick when it gets too short to soak in the fuel while being lit. Keep enough fuel in the lamp to be able to use it during emergencies. Keep matches, fuel, flashlights and wicks handy, because if it's nighttime and you lose power, you want to safely reach the items you need in the dark to light the hurricane lamp(s).

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