Hurricane lamps get their name from their tall glass chimneys which protect the flame from strong winds. The glass shield also serves to prevent drafts from windows, doors and ceiling fans from blowing out the flame. Multiple types of fuels can be used with hurricane lamps, including kerosene, oil or wax. Today, these lamps are mostly used for aesthetic purposes, recreating the ambiance of this antique light fixture. Modern-day electric hurricane lamps are more practical than those which use fuel, but are pleasingly nostalgic to use. Those who are in possession of a fueled hurricane light can learn how to care for it below.
1. Remove the glass chimney by loosening the thumb screws/clamp at the base. Carefully lift the chimney directly upward, taking care not to scratch it against the ides of the lamp. Set it aside.
2. To remove the existing wick for replacement, unclamp the wick cover by unlocking the tab and opening it along the hinge. The wick cover serves to align and protect the wick during use.
3. All liquid fueled hurricane lamps have a fuel reservoir which is accessed by taking off the top cover. It is usually held on with several screws. With the screws removed, lift off the cover to expose the reservoir. Using the appropriate fuel (ex. Kerosene, oil), fill the reservoir about 3/4 full, but not all the way up. Filling it too high can result in unwanted spillage.
4. Take a fresh, unburned wick and dip it into the fuel, soaking it from top to bottom. Place one end into the lamp cover which you removed in Step 3. There should be a small crank which is used to feed the wick through the hole and out through the top.
5. Place the cover back onto the reservoir and tighten securely. Adjust the wick height by turning the crank. Only a small portion of the wick should be exposed.
6. Now you can carefully light the hurricane lamp with a lighter or match. Place the glass chimney over the top and secure into place. Adjustment of the wick’s brightness can be done using the crank.
7. To extinguish the flame, simply blow into the chimney. Do not extinguish the flame by lowering the wick into the fuel reservoir, as the hot end can ignite the fuel inside. The wick needs to be trimmed on occasion to promote good fuel flow. Once it becomes too short and cannot reach the fuel, it should be replaced. If the hurricane lamp is to be used for emergencies, keep a lighter or book of matches nearby.
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