Pressure Lamps International


Thank you for visiting Alan's Lantern & Lamp Website

(Located in Northampton UK)


Last updated 29th Sept 2006

1930s Petromax 835
1920 Tilley

Pressure lamps and lanterns burning gasoline (petrol) and kerosene (paraffin) to light up an incandescent mantle have been widely used since around 1900, but have only been in common use in Europe and North America since about 1915. As a successor to the open flame or wick type oil lamp, the pressure lamp design became popular because of the high intensity of light emitted. These days electricity has displaced oil as a light source in all but the remotest of places, but many examples of pressure lamps can still be found, and there are several makers still producing lanterns. This web site is dedicated to the Pressure Lamp, an appliance which has survived with little change for over a hundred years, since the first commercial model was made. The early design principles are essentially the same today as they were then, a testimony to the insight of the pioneers in the lighting industry. The site is divided into simple areas, you may browse through images of lamps and lanterns submitted by collectors, or you may follow links to other sites, although there are only a few which relate to pressure lamps. For the really keen collector, and the student, there is a section on the history and development of the pressure lamp, and there is also a list of manufacturers and brand names. This list has to be regularly extended to include the many names which collectors all over the world are still sending to me. Finally, there are pictures of lamps and lanterns which we have not been able to identify. Perhaps you know who made these lamps? There are no prizes, but if you know the answers, please tell us. To send e-mail please got to the mail page

Important Safety Issues - The Ten Commandments

1) Kerosene, gasoline and alcohol are all poisons - wash off with running water if any of these get onto your skin

2) Kerosene, gasoline and alcohol all burn fiercely - take great care when filling and lighting lamps

3) Old founts often leak - check integrity before adding fuel and building pressure

4) Old joints and valves often leak - check soundness before attempting to fire up a newly acquired lamp

5) Old mantles containing Thorium are radioactive - handle with care

6) Burn-off smoke contains Beryllium, which is lethal in small concentrations - So, burn-off new mantles outside

7) Burning mantles consume oxygen - only light your lamps in well ventilated places

8) Poor combustion produces lethal carbon monoxide - if it smokes, turn it off. Just 400 ppm will kill you

9) Lanterns tops and valves get very hot - handle with care when in use

10) Always use the correct fuel - gasoline in a lantern designed for kerosene can be spectacular and fatal

Why you should not store gasoline in the garden shed....

Restoring and using old pressure lamps can be very dangerous ! Please take care, and always follow the maker's instructions.

This site is always due for fairly major updates - if you have submitted a picture or some text for inclusion and it hasn't appeared yet, please be patient and drop by again in a week or two.

To contact me please go to the mail page.