Whaling was a major source of income in north eastern America from the late 1700s to the 1860s, and whale oil lamps were widely produced from the early 1800s. Whale oil was usually obtained from the blubber of the Greenland right whale. The more expensive sperm oil, used mostly in public halls and on naval vessels, was extracted from the head of the sperm whale. Crude oil, found in sedimentary rocks, was discovered in large quantities in Pennsylvania in the late 1850s. Separated from crude oil by distillation, paraffin, also known as kerosene, became the favoured fuel for lighting.
Adjustable rushlight candleholder, iron. Made about 1800. From County Armagh.
Wrought iron rush lamp. Made in the late 1700s. From New Oxford, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Wooden candle box, rectangular with lift-off lid. Moulding around base and edge of lid. Box nailed together..From Adamstown, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Eight-candle candle mould. Metal with black painted surface. From Crawfordsville, Indiana, United States of America.
Candle snuffer, metal. Made about 1850. From Pennsylvania, United States of America. The candle snuffer was used to trim the wick of the candle to conserve wax - it was not used to extinguish candles.
Table lamp. Oil lamp moulded from clear glass with metal burner. From Quincy, Illinois, United States of America.
Kerosene table lamp, glass. Reservoir decorated with picture of sailing boat. From Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, United States of America.
Small oil lantern with handle for carrying. Made between 1870 and 1890. From Madison County, Illinois, United States of America.
American hanging lamp, brass. Made by The Angle Lamp Company, New York. This lamp is on display in the General Store at the Ulster American Folk Park.
Vaseline glass kerosene finger lamp. Yellow glass base with brass burner, stamped 'PAT. NOV 26. 72 PAT. FEB 11.73'. From Romney, West Virginia, United States of America.
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