Chance Vapour Lamp
Chance Vapour Lamp with an electric bulb to simulate the original mantle
Copyright-Scottish Lighthouse Museum

When the paraffin lamp was in operation the duty keeper remained in the lightroom except for weather observations and to operate the fog signal.

Lamp Diagram 2002 EVENING DUTIES
Fill pre-heater with methylated spirits.
Position under Bunsen/Vaporiser and ignite.
Open lightroom curtains or blinds
Open air tank valve to pressurise paraffin tank,pump to correct pressure,open paraffin tank to lamp valve.
After approximately ten minutes,open valve to allow paraffin to vaporiser,paraffin will vaporise allowing paraffin vapour through feed nipple to mixing chamber,as vapour rises through mantle ignite.
Most of vapour goes to mantle,some passes to bunsen and keeps vaporiser hot.
Remove and extinguish pre-heater,ensure bunsen remains lit.
Start lens rotating
Close paraffin container to lamp feed valve
Wind up weight.
Stop lens rotating
Close lamp feed valve
Draw curtains or lower blinds as appropriate
Top up with paraffin via paraffin filler

Paraffin Feed 2002

Lamp Components 2004 35mm Vaporiser 2004 55mm Vaporiser 2002
Component parts of Lamp

Two types of mantle


Made from wax and limestone,on first using the wax was burnt off,leaving a solid limestone mantle,the main disadvantage was base of mantle would swing in any breeze and break pieces from the mantle.
Made from silk,floppy until first use,when it would balloon up and assume a sphere shape.
The pump plunger washer was made from leather and we usually had a couple soaking in oil to keep them supple.
Paraffin Filler Seal
In the paraffin filler cap was a lead washer used to seal the cap
The main body and mixing chamber were washed in soapy water,the vaporiser and bunsen we heated with a blowlamp,which dried and helped carbonise any debris.Then the nipple bolt and cleaning bolts were removed and the inside of tubes cleaned with a corkscrew shaped wire brush,with the 55 mm vaporiser a scraper was used to clear the passageway between the two tubes and the nipple cleared with the apropiate sized wire. The bunson tube took the time,since each individual hole was pricked and cleaned and hopefully any bits would then be blown out of the feed tube. The lamp was then reassembled returned to the lightroom and given a check operation.

All photographs and diagrams Copyright Fred Fox unless otherwise shown.