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Object Lessons: The Hurricane Lantern

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Object Lessons: The Hurricane Lantern

July 25, 2017

It isn’t until the power goes out that we consider what the average evening was like before electric light. The ill-prepared are plunged back in history to a time when candles served as the best form of illumination. The better equipped turn to the hurricane oil lantern, which provides the light of at least a half dozen candles. What is romantic to us now was miraculous back in 1783 when a Swiss physicist discovered a way to increase the flame’s power with the use of oil, a wick, a glass funnel, and oxygen. With the turn of a small knob, the flame could be controlled according to the length of the wick—a luxury never before known. Today hurricane lanterns are as likely to be used for entertaining in the garden and camping as they are for use in storms. Here are some classic oil-burning examples.

uk company toast used to make a great storm lantern in different colors (toast, 9
Above: UK company Toast used to make a great storm lantern in different colors (Toast, are you reading this? Please bring it back!) Vintage and new lanterns are widely available on eBay and Etsy for less than $50 each.

Five to Buy

above: german company feuerbrand have been manufacturing the \276 storm lantern 10
Above: German company Feuerbrand have been manufacturing the 276 Storm Lantern since 1902. The lantern burns for 20 hours and features a sardine-can-style key for adjusting the height of the wick, a screw-top opening for oil, and the glass is both heat and frost resistant. This one, in white, is $38.70 at the Goodhood Store.
the lampe tempête is made by guillouard of france, a rival to fueurbrand. it& 11
Above: The Lampe Tempête is made by Guillouard of France, a rival to Fueurbrand. It’s available in a variety of colors, as well as galvanized and brass finishes, and comes with a liter of lamp oil and three wicks; €58 ($65 USD) at Guillouard.
the w. t. kirkman no. \1 little champ has a rust resistant galvanized tin finis 12
Above: The W. T. Kirkman No. 1 Little Champ has a rust-resistant galvanized tin finish on steel. It’s 12 inches tall and offers “nine-candle power”; $20.95 at W. T. Kirkman Lanterns.
the stansport eight inch hurricane lantern is \$\10.03 at target. 13
Above: The Stansport Eight-Inch Hurricane Lantern is $10.03 at Target.
designed by erik magnussen, the stelton ship&#8\2\17;s lamp is a modern tak 14
Above: Designed by Erik Magnussen, the Stelton Ship’s Lamp is a modern take on the hurricane lamp; the 13.3-inch-tall Stelton Ship’s Lamp Small is $549 and the Stelton Ship’s Lamp Large is $689 from YLiving. (See it used as a hanging light fixture at Design Sleuth: Architect Craig Steely’s Hanging Stelton Lamp.)
For more Outdoor Lighting ideas, have a look at Gardenista’s finds, including DIY Mason Jar Lanterns to Light Up the Night.

Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson is the owner of Ancient Industries and curator of the Remodelista 100 presented in the Remodelista book. Watch for her column every Tuesday, and have a look at her past lessons, including The Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket and The Classic Canvas Tote Bag. We featured her Connecticut shop in our post Purveyor of the Practical and the Timeless.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on August 19, 2014.

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