Friday, September 21, 2012

Make A Betty Oil Lamp

Oil has given light for thousands of years.

For thousands of years man lit his environment with simple oil lamps. A clay bowl filled with oil and a fiber wick provided light to keep out the dark of night. The Betty lamp arrived in America with the first German colonists to settle in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The Betty lamp is derived from the older crusie lamp made in Scotland, but is safer because the cast iron container holding the oil is covered. Replicas of the Betty lamp are popular with colonial-era re-enactment groups. This article will show make two different versions of the Betty lamp.


Iron Teapot Lamp

1. Slide the lamp wick down through the spout of the teapot. Leave about 1/2 inch of wick sticking out of the tip of the spout.

2. Clean the enamel coating off the hanger wire with the sand paper. The enamel coating would burn in the lamp flame.

3. Beginning an inch below the tip of the spout, wrap six turns of hangar wire around the teapot pour spout. Wrap two turns around the wick and cut the wire off 2 inches out from the wick with pliers or a wire cutter.

4. Fold the wire that sticks out down against the side of the spout. The wire will secure the wick and keep it from falling down into the lamp. It will also give you something to hold so that you can pull more wick up to adjust the flame.

5. Pour lamp oil into the teapot until it is about half full. This will provide enough oil to cover the wick without oil spilling out the spout if you need to carry the lamp. Replace the lid and allow the oil to fill the wick before lighting the lamp.

Pop Can Betty Lamp

6. Attach the clean, empty pop can to the saucer with epoxy glue. Apply a bead of glue around the bottom of the can and on the clay saucer and allow the glue to set. The saucer will provide a convenient way to carry the lamp and its raised lip will catch any spills that might occur.

7. Poke a small hole in the top of the can with the ice pick on the far side of the top opposite the large pouring hole.

8. Feed the fiberglass wick up through the glass wick holder leaving about 1/2 inch sticking out the top. You can trim it with scissors later if the flame is too high.

9. Push the wick down into the small hole in the top of the can and down until the glass wick holder is touching the can. Press the wick holder into the hole and down until the lip of the glass wick holder is touching the top of the can. You can make the hole larger with the ice pick if necessary.

10. Pour 4 ounces of lamp oil into the large opening on top of the soda pop can and wait until the oil has penetrated the wick before lighting the lamp. Plug the hole with the small cork to prevent leaking.

Tags: wick holder, Betty lamp, glass wick, glass wick holder, about inch, before lighting, before lighting lamp