Aladdin Kerosene Mantle Lamps
Aladdin is a brand of coal oil kerosene lamp that has been sold for 100 years. The Aladdin lamp has brought dependable light to millions around the world without electricity. Aladdin light is a bright light with no smoke, no odor, no noise and no pumping-up. An Aladdin lamp will erase the darkness and fill a room with warm, joyful and fully portable light: light where you want it, and when you want it. The Aladdin lamp is the last non-pressure, kerosene, incandescent mantle lamp made in the world today.
The success of the Aladdin lamp is based on the superior performance compared to other kerosene lamps. In fact, the original marketing technique was a no cost, no risk, in home trial. Aladdin salesmen identified homes without mantle lamps by the poor yellow light of wick lamps. Then the homeowner was offered a mantle lamp with fuel to use for one week. After the trial, the homeowner could return the lamp, no questions asked, or purchase it. The vast majority of consumers spent $4.50, or more, for an Aladdin lamp to replace their 25-cent wick lamps. The key reasons consumers were willing to purchase the more expensive Aladdin lamp were economy in use, safety, product quality and amount of light produced.
The Aladdin lamp produces four times more light per gallon of kerosene than wick lamps-equivalent to 60 candlepower of white light. Wick lamps produce light by the process of burning kerosene with a large flame. These lamps are essentially liquid fueled candles with bigger wicks.
The Aladdin mantle glows with a brilliant white light. In terms of the amount of light produced, the incandescent mantle is far more efficient than a wick lamp. The mantle, which is made of a special mixture of rare earth oxides, produces light by a process called incandescence. Incandescence is the same process by which electric light bulbs produce light, without destroying the element producing the incandesence. Careful observation will reveal the small blue flame below the mantle, not the yellow flame of an ordinary wick lamp. This blue flame produces a high heat because of the burner design, thereby making the mantle glow and emit white light.
You can often spot an Aladdin because the chimney is slim and taller than used on most other lamps. The tall chimney creates a draft to draw more air needed to make strong light and create the efficient 4% fuel, 96 % air combustion mix.
Proper use and care of the Aladdin mantle lamp does require some attention. The recommended procedures are explained in the instruction manual that comes with every new lamp. The key points involve proper adjustment. The Aladdin lamp, just like a fine engine, must warm up to proper operating temperatures for best performance. The warm-up process takes about ten minutes. It is important to observe the mantle carefully for a period of 10-15 minutes after lighting and adjusting the wick.
Aladdins were made as table lamps, hanging lamps, floor lamps, wall lamps, and as caboose lamps. The company created special glass colors, made unique paper and glass shades, and beginning in the 1930s, started making deco versions of electric lamps. All are collectible, and useable today.
With proper care, an Aladdin kerosene lamp can last a lifetime, as attested by the large number of "antique" Aladdin lamps still in use today. Collectors seek all models of Aladdins beginning with the first lamps sold in 1908 through Model 23 which is made today. The model number is located on the wick raising knob.
Using Wick Raiser Knobs to Identify Model Numbers
How to Light Your Aladdin Lamp
(Letter to Customer, 1933)
The Sales Department has referred your recent letter to this department, with request that we endeavor to help you obtain perfect service from your Aladdin.
When an Aladdin does not give satisfactory results, it is usually a pretty sure indication that its user has overlooked some little detail in the directions. Usually, we find the trouble is due to one or more of the following causes:
- Flame turned too high—causing smoking.
- Wick may be rough or uneven in height.
- Wick may be dirty, top covered with carbon or crust of residue from the oil. If lamp has not been in use for a long time and is left with oil standing in the bowl, wick is quite apt to become clogged.
- Generator may not be down on its seat in the center tube or is covered with crust on its sides, or residues or particles of dirt in some of the holes.
- Bridges of metal between holes in the generator may be jammed or slightly dented.
- Wick tube flange may be covered with a crust of carbon residue thereon, or particles or residue clinging to the edge.
- Mantle not properly locked in correct position.
- Oil used may be poor in quality. You can determine this by the fact that the mantle will not glow at the top, but only at the bottom regardless of how high wick is turned.
If you will co-operate with us, we are sure that you will be able to get just as satisfactory results from the Aladdin as hundreds of thousands are getting daily.
Nothing would please the writer better than to be able to spend twenty or thirty minutes with you so that we could go over the Aladdin and its operation together, thereby no doubt, quickly locating the seat of your trouble. As this is not possible, however, he will give in detail just how we would go about checking up your lamp, putting it in order and lighting it.
Kindly follow carefully, step by step, the suggestions given below. It might be well for you to have someone else read the following instructions slowly, paragraph at a time, so that you can carefully follow each operation step by step. Do not leave one paragraph until you are sure that you have put the Aladdin in shape to comply with that particular part of the instruction:
- First of all, you must have the various parts of the Aladdin in proper shape before attempting to get results. Should the mantle be covered with soot through accidentally or carelessly setting the flame too high, it can in most cases, be readily burned off. This is done by lighting the wick, turning the flame low, putting on the gallery containing mantle and chimney, the soot will then burn off slowly. As the soot burns off, the flame can be gradually increased. Where the mantle has been heavily coated with soot, a few grains of salt carefully sprinkled on it will hurry the burning-off process. Salt, however, if left on the burner parts will corrode them, hence the salt should be removed immediately after cleaning the mantle. You can however, at all times avoid sooting the mantle if you operate the Aladdin correctly. Where the mantle has been smoked up badly and the burner parts have become very hot, sometimes they will become so overheated that the overheated outer and inner wick tube may scorch the wick. If the wick is scorched, it will not draw up the oil, and in such a case, the scorched part must be trimmed off and the top again recharred. In the event your Aladdin has not been overheated or the mantle is not sooted up you will, of course, not need to comply with the suggestions we have given you in this paragraph.
- Remove Gallery containing mantle and chimney.
- Remove Chimney from the gallery.
- See that the mantle is locked under both catches in the gallery. It also is very important that the mantle hangs central over the burner cone flange and that is not caved in or warped. Otherwise a lamp perfect in other respects will be unsatisfactory in its operation.
- Put back chimney in its place in the gallery.
- Remove flame spreader (sometimes called generator), turn the wick up and down and see that the center tube is not off-center. If it is, wick will be pinched on one side. If the lamp is off-center, it will not be possible to get good results.
- Turn up the wick very carefully until the top of it lightly touches the underside of the cleaner. The top of wick should be about one-eight inch above the wick tubes. Turn the wick cleaner around carefully a few times so as to remove any chunks or particles of carbon or residue that may cling to the wick. Always turn the wick cleaner in one direction—to the right. Be sure that the cleaner lightly scrapes the top of the wick, but do not press it down hard upon the wick or try to remove the charred ends of the threads of the wick. Turn the wick up and down a few times and be sure that it has the proper shape that is, a smooth top with the outer edge removed, leaving it tapered or slanting. It must not be higher on one side of the burner than the other.
- See that there are no particles of carbon residue clinging to the sides of the wick or to the wick tube flange.
- Examine the flame spreader carefully. See that none of the metal bridges between he holes are bent or dented in the least. If they are, the flame spreader is worthless and a new one will have to be used. Be sure to see that there are no particles of carbon in any of the holes in the flame spreader. If there are, blow them out. If there is a scale of carbon on the flame spreader, carefully remove it with a knife, and be sure that any little particles are blown out of the holes.
- Replace the flame spreader and be sure that it is down on its seat as far as it will go. Turn the wick up a trifle and light it. When the flame extends all around the wick turn it down until you have a small flame. Then immediately put on gallery containing mantle and chimney and turn the wick up until the mantle is about one-half lighted.
- Allow the Aladdin to stand and heat up several minutes. Then set the light so that the mantle is incandesced (lights up) two-thirds. Don't set the light so high that it fills the very top of the mantle. Two-thirds full is much better. It takes a little while for the burner parts to get thoroughly heated, and until the burner parts are thoroughly heated, the flame will increase as a result of additional vaporization of the oil.
Remember, the temperature of the lamp parts will vary according to the temperature of the room. As an illustration: If you start the Aladdin in a room that is cool, say 50 degrees, and then the temperature of the room is increased to 80 degrees, or in other words, an increase of 30 degrees, the burner parts will increase accordingly in temperature and such a vast increase in temperature would have a tendency to increase the vaporization of oil. If the oil is brought in from outside and is perhaps 20 or 25 degrees cooler than the room temperature, you will appreciate that it will take some little time for the oil to attain the same temperature as the room and this might make some slight difference, especially if in lighting, the light is set with no allowance for increase.
The Aladdin gives such an abundance of pure white light that it should never be necessary to set the wick so high that the very tip of the mantle has a bright incandescence. It is much better to set the wick so that the mantle is not lighted up (incandesced) to the very tip as then you will have no difficulty about the lamp smoking.
The Aladdin is almost human. It requires oxygen the same as a human being does. If you find that the Aladdin begins to die down after it has been burning for hour an hour or two, it is a pretty good indication that the oxygen is getting scarce in the room and additional ventilation is necessary. It is then necessary to open the door or window and let in a supply of fresh air, when the light will resume its usual brightness.
We believe that if you will very carefully follow the procedure we have outlined above, step by step, you will be able to overcome the difficulty you may have had. In the event, however, you still have trouble, let us know fully, the nature of the same so that we may adjust the matter to your entire satisfaction.
Very truly yours,
THE MANTLE LAMP COMPANY OF AMERICA,
(signed) B. Engh