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Old 6th Aug 2019, 6:09 pm   #1
LyntonP's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Wigan, Greater Manchester, UK.
Posts: 168
Default Vintage lighting

Hope this is ok to put on the vintage technology discussion.
I am sure that many of our more seasoned members will remember these items.
I had been looking for one of these pressurised paraffin lamps for a few years but they seemed to attract high prices on the usual auction sites.
Whilst away on holiday in The Isle of Man a few years ago I noticed one in a friends workshop. I asked if he wanted to sell it and he unhooked it from the back of the door and gave it to me. Naturally I was delighted but he then disappeared into another of his outbuildings and returned with two more!
‘Take them’ he said ‘I have others’
I rewarded him with a substantial amount of Guinness and he seemed very well pleased.
I managed to find some new mantles in a hardware shop on the island, (they are radio active by the way),and on returning home dismantled and cleaned the lamps one at a time.
Further spares were obtained via the internet, and I was fortunate that a company local to me sell paraffin which burns with very little odour. One lamp still had a tankful of Esso Blue!
A little research showed that two of the lamps were made by a company called Vapalux in the 1960’s and the third made by Tilley in the 1980’s.
The photos show their original condition, a comparison of the vapour head before and after cleaning, burning in a new mantle, and the lamps in their final condition.
I still use one on the shed as it gives very good light, and produces around a KW of heat, great for the winter.
Lamps such as these were used in the trenches in WW1. I remember lots of them used on market stalls, and we used them when we went camping of course.
There is another model that I would like to find which was a heater and had a large polished reflector. I have only ever seen one and that was in a museum.
I also still have a Primus stove but that’s another story.
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Old 6th Aug 2019, 6:39 pm   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 1,235
Default Re: Vintage lighting

Very nice.

Like you, I've long fancied one but am not prepared to pay what they sell for given that I've no real use for it.
"Experts are only good at one thing: explaining why something will not work!"
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Old 6th Aug 2019, 7:24 pm   #3
dave walsh
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Location: Ramsbottom (Nr Bury) Lancs or Bexhill (Nr Hastings) Sussex.
Posts: 4,609
Default Re: Vintage lighting

A really good job Lynton. I agree with you and Mr P about not laying out cash for something that isn't a real priority. On the other hand and ironically, your efforts make it clear why others are willing to spend quite a bit to get one

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Old 6th Aug 2019, 7:36 pm   #4
G6Tanuki's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Wiltshire, UK.
Posts: 8,249
Default Re: Vintage lighting


I remember back in the early-70s going on a camp with the TA and they had similar pressure-lights, but theirs ran on petrol not paraffin, so there was no faffing-around with pre-heating the things using meths.

[We were in Scotland, at Cultybraggan, a site originally used during WWII as a PoW camp but later by the Army - and the lights horribly attracted millions of bloodsucking midges from the surroundings!]
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Old 6th Aug 2019, 7:39 pm   #5
The Philpott
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Colchester, Essex, UK.
Posts: 2,018
Default Re: Vintage lighting

I do like these things. A similar lamp was our background lighting for bonfire night in the '70's, i remember the hiss, the greenish-white light and the need to pump it every so often. I also recall being slightly scared of it! I think it was a petrol one. There was an attempt to resurrect it years later but after 3 mantles falling to bits in succession, we gave up.

Now then, where is it....

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Old 6th Aug 2019, 7:59 pm   #6
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Location: Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 7,855
Default Re: Vintage lighting

Originally Posted by LyntonP View Post
Hope this is ok to put on the vintage technology discussion.
Paraffin lamps are definitely not a form of vintage electronics, sorry. There will be a more appropriate forum somewhere.
Bill, BVWS member
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