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Oil Lamps - the old school form of light


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My boat came with an oil lamp. A DHR wall mount lamp. I'm considering adding an oil lamp or two for the cabin and as an anchor light. Here's my current oil lamp in action last night while hanging out watch some sci-fi. Post yours along with the make & model info. 

 

IMG_3370.jpg

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As an added bonus, if you burn citronella oil in those it makes the boat smell nice and keeps the bugs away

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I have been saving GrandDad's old "railroad" lamp for possible use on the boat, but I fear that it may not be up to marine use.  And don't really want to carry another fuel on board.  I believe it is actually made of tin.  

IMG_3082.png.feb2680eb163ef83d6b467a8ee4eccfe.png

Oh, it's an Embury No. 2 "Air Pilot."  1930's era. 

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I have a DHR trawler lamp with a 20" Ideal burner. Came with the boat.  Normally hangs over the salon table. Strangely I don't have a photo since it burns most evenings. It's enough light to play cards or a board game. Takes the chill off. 

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And a Weems & Plath that's pretty windproof, but doesn't throw off much useful light. 

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7 hours ago, toddster said:

I have been saving GrandDad's old "railroad" lamp for possible use on the boat, but I fear that it may not be up to marine use.  And don't really want to carry another fuel on board.  I believe it is actually made of tin.  

IMG_3082.png.feb2680eb163ef83d6b467a8ee4eccfe.png

Oh, it's an Embury No. 2 "Air Pilot."  1930's era. 

As a kid we used something very similar to that as a riding light. The oil didn't quite last the night. Filling, lighting and hoisting was my job before I went to bed. Who knows how good it really was, but we never got run over.

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I've had oil lamps on all my boats. The warm, cozy light of an oil lamp down below is part of sailing for me - right up there with freshly ground coffee at anchor in the morning. But, if you are sensitive to smells, be careful what you burn in your oil lamp. Pure paraffin or "ultra clear lamp oil" is what you want. Kerosene will just give you a headache and make your eyes water. I would only ever burn citronella out in the cockpit and that lamp would be relegated to outdoor use for life. YMMV.

I have a a DHR Trawler Junior on my current boat. The lamps with circular wicks burn the brightest and cleanest.

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1 hour ago, Jim in Halifax said:

I've had oil lamps on all my boats. The warm, cozy light of an oil lamp down below is part of sailing for me - right up there with freshly ground coffee at anchor in the morning. But, if you are sensitive to smells, be careful what you burn in your oil lamp. Pure paraffin or "ultra clear lamp oil" is what you want. Kerosene will just give you a headache and make your eyes water. I would only ever burn citronella out in the cockpit and that lamp would be relegated to outdoor use for life. YMMV.

I have a a DHR Trawler Junior on my current boat. The lamps with circular wicks burn the brightest and cleanest.

Someone many years ago turned us on to using basic paint thinner (when it was cheaper than hell like 30 years ago). Wasn't too bad in the smell department....a bit nicer than kerosene at least....

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4 hours ago, European Bloke said:

As a kid we used something very similar to that as a riding light. The oil didn't quite last the night. Filling, lighting and hoisting was my job before I went to bed. Who knows how good it really was, but we never got run over.

Warning - there was a boat around here built in the 1800s that got rammed at anchor. The boat that hit them claimed their anchor lamp - which was an oil lamp - was not USCG approved and it was their own fault. I am not 100% sure how it ended up, but either way it was not a pleasant experience.

* the dumbest thing is an oil lamp 10 feet off the water is way more visible to the average powerboater that NEVER looks up than an anchor light 60 feet higher :rolleyes:

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28 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Warning - there was a boat around here built in the 1800s that got rammed at anchor. The boat that hit them claimed their anchor lamp - which was an oil lamp - was not USCG approved and it was their own fault. I am not 100% sure how it ended up, but either way it was not a pleasant experience.

* the dumbest thing is an oil lamp 10 feet off the water is way more visible to the average powerboater that NEVER looks up than an anchor light 60 feet higher :rolleyes:

In daytime make sure you have your anchor ball signal up or you'll get more of the same.

The hard part is getting raised fast enough before they hit you. 

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4 minutes ago, Elegua said:

In daytime make sure you have your anchor ball signal up or you'll get more of the same.

The hard part is getting raised fast enough before they hit you. 

:lol:

* serious question, if you get a round radar reflector and paint it black, can that be an anchor ball too?

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40 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Warning - there was a boat around here built in the 1800s that got rammed at anchor. The boat that hit them claimed their anchor lamp - which was an oil lamp - was not USCG approved and it was their own fault. I am not 100% sure how it ended up, but either way it was not a pleasant experience.

* the dumbest thing is an oil lamp 10 feet off the water is way more visible to the average powerboater that NEVER looks up than an anchor light 60 feet higher :rolleyes:

You're right there. Ol Tom has a nice video on the subject

https://youtu.be/gfX67kcCx5M

I have a tilley lamp myself- in lieu of a diesel heater it takes the edge off down below. Bit more of a faff, though, than a simple oil lamp - had a couple on my last boat. 

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Stevens Hardware in Annapolis - RIP - used to have oil lamps that had some kind of round wick (Alden??) that were very bright. I have an anchor light from a whaling ship that is about the size of a small beer keg, but back when light bulbs were a new invention some ancestor of mine got rid the of kerosene parts and stuck a light socket in there :angry:

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10 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

:lol:

* serious question, if you get a round radar reflector and paint it black, can that be an anchor ball too?

Good question. The one I have is about the same size, shape and construction as my Davis Echomaster except that it's black plastic. I put it up simply because I know that whomever hits me will pull this kind of crap. 

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1). Nothing more annoyingly useless than a 10 watt anchor light, trying to shine thru a 25 year old filthy dirty glass lens, 63 feet above the water, in a crowded anchorage.....on a crystal clear starlit night. 

A la Baja.....:lol:

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36 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

:lol:

* serious question, if you get a round radar reflector and paint it black, can that be an anchor ball too? But you must then mount if forward.

Yes, that would be fine. But the Davis folding black plastic shape is better. Easier to rig and store. Strangely rare to see another boat show a ball at anchor given the numerous painfully righteous sailors volunteering every other obscure yachting rule and safety tip.

The showing of some kind of deck-level light is a huge benefit in cruiser anchorages. Crazy not to. And no, this 3am dinghy skipper says those Home Depot solar garden lamps are not enough. But it's your boat...

Oil lamp? Yea, if everybody cruises the anchorage in rowboats.

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7 minutes ago, Borracho said:

Yes, that would be fine. But the Davis folding black plastic shape is better. Easier to rig and store. Strangely rare to see another boat show a ball at anchor given the numerous painfully righteous sailors volunteering every other obscure yachting rule and safety tip.

The showing of some kind of deck-level light is a huge benefit in cruiser anchorages. Crazy not to. And no, this 3am dinghy skipper says those Home Depot solar garden lamps are not enough. But it's your boat...

Oil lamp? Yea, if everybody cruises the anchorage in rowboats.

On the last Baja Ha-Ha I did about 12 years ago, I'd guesstimate that out of 150-plus sailboats on the the hook (both at Bahia Tortugas and Bahia Santa Maria).....at least 18 boats had various arrangements, colors and types of Christmas lights strung up in their rigging. Not quite CG/Lloyd's approved.....but it sure made finding your boat much easier at Oh Tequila-30.....

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

:lol:

* serious question, if you get a round radar reflector and paint it black, can that be an anchor ball too?

Technically... Anchor balls are req’d to be a minimum of 0.6 meters (or 2’) in diameter to be Legal.

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8 minutes ago, Elegua said:

Anyone have a motoring cone? 

Had one on Shere Khan and used it religiously in the crowded waters off So Cal. (Not because only 10 percent of mariners here knew what it was......it was because we figured that our insurance company would like us a bit better if shit went sideways)......

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6 minutes ago, Veeger said:

Technically... Anchor balls are req’d to be a minimum of 0.6 meters (or 2’) in diameter to be Legal.

Haha. That is exactly what I meant about maritime legal advice. 100 cruisers in the anchorage. Only mine showing an anchor ball. 30 cm though. Cruiser seeks me out on the pier to say "It's too small." :-)

Navigationally the anchor day shape is absolutely pointless. Litigationally however...

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13 minutes ago, Borracho said:

Haha. That is exactly what I meant about maritime legal advice. 100 cruisers in the anchorage. Only mine showing an anchor ball. 30 cm though. Cruiser seeks me out on the pier to say "It's too small." :-)

Navigationally the anchor day shape is absolutely pointless. Litigationally however...

Yep.  Once the legal beagles get ahold of things.... no one is guilt free.

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29 minutes ago, Elegua said:

Anyone have a motoring cone? 

I had Port Authority here in Vancouver try and tell me I had to have a cone up when motor-sailing in the harbour. They also told me the sail should be flogging so the powerboaters knew I wasn't sailing.

I politely told him my boat was under 9m and he could suck my cock.

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34 minutes ago, Borracho said:

Haha. That is exactly what I meant about maritime legal advice. 100 cruisers in the anchorage. Only mine showing an anchor ball. 30 cm though. Cruiser seeks me out on the pier to say "It's too small." :-)

Navigationally the anchor day shape is absolutely pointless. Litigationally however...

Sadly my balls are also a bit to small as the they sell in the store are all about 30cm. 

 

17 minutes ago, climenuts said:

I had Port Authority here in Vancouver try and tell me I had to have a cone up when motor-sailing in the harbour. They also told me the sail should be flogging so the powerboaters knew I wasn't sailing.

I politely told him my boat was under 9m and he could suck my cock.

I'd say your balls might be big enough. 

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16 hours ago, Kolibri said:

I'm considering adding an oil lamp or two for the cabin and as an anchor light.

Used to be a fan and had many including some of the round-wick ones and some of the Aladdin-style ones with mantles.  All of them are a fire hazard, a source of spills, require another fuel to be managed, require periodic maintenance, and even if trimmed properly produce fine particulates that coat everything around them with ongoing use.  Before the LED and rechargeable battery revolutions they had a certain unique utility but that is no longer the case.  All that leaves is charm.  I decided it wasn't worth it and sold them.

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9 hours ago, European Bloke said:

As a kid we used something very similar to that as a riding light. The oil didn't quite last the night. Filling, lighting and hoisting was my job before I went to bed. Who knows how good it really was, but we never got run over.

That's actually a kerosene lamp with a pre-heated air blast feature. It gets pretty bright.  I've read that they were designed for use with early automobiles, before headlights were a thing.  Although this one would have been made a few years after that.  (Built-in headlights required on cars made after 1930.)

In the 60's-70's, we had ordinary oil lamps around the farm house for use when the power was out (pretty frequent in the winter). I remember trying to do homework or read with the little one in my room - it was better than a candle, but not much.

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13 hours ago, El Mariachi said:

On the last Baja Ha-Ha I did about 12 years ago, I'd guesstimate that out of 150-plus sailboats on the the hook (both at Bahia Tortugas and Bahia Santa Maria).....at least 18 boats had various arrangements, colors and types of Christmas lights strung up in their rigging. Not quite CG/Lloyd's approved.....but it sure made finding your boat much easier at Oh Tequila-30.....

Jesus Christ...150-plus sailboats at anchor? I thought the idea of people leaving the USA cruising was to get away from that kinda thing?!

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13 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Jesus Christ...150-plus sailboats at anchor? I thought the idea of people leaving the USA cruising was to get away from that kinda thing?!

It's actually a pretty bitchin 'cruising starter kit' thing......but Yeah, after 8 days (and finally getting to Cabo).....most every one is f'ng done----and they can't wait to go any where else that is like human free.. ....:lol:

FB_IMG_1606575628908.jpg

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We had 4 vertical strips of retro reflective tape about 12" long applied around the mast. Shine a bright led flashlight through the anchorage of 50 boats and our boat instantly stood out.

In this day and age I think kerosene lamps are good source of heat and not much else.

Had a kerosene anchor light 25 years ago and I hated it. It would soot up as the wick burned down, run out of fuel after a few nights, had to be hoisted every night, etc etc. Modern LED have made them obsolete.

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The Dietz oil lamp is a hardware standby. Some of the schooners here use them both as deck and anchor lights so my local hardware always stocks them. Ours hangs by the backdoor for power outages, back yard dinners and of course, Harborques. 

271769971_Harborque3.thumb.jpg.8006957f17a9e8e576c696ce5d248997.jpg

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12 hours ago, Pertsa said:

When you need little more light:

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Pressure lamps are damn bright, though you dont want to leave one unattended.

Nice. Pressure lamps (mostly tilley lamps around here) are good for heat. Kerosene after all is in the diesel family, thus it is essentially a portable diesel heater. 

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