Posts tagged: oil lamps

Low Power

By , January 17, 2018

We’re weathering a “perfect storm” of . . . calm weather.

In the middle of January, we can’t rely on the solar array to power our homestead as it does most of the rest of the year. Instead, we need the wind generator to cover the gap caused by seasonal darkness. But, if we hit a run of cloudy, calm days, we lose out.

That’s our current situation. We’ve had breezy days and nights, enough to spin the generator just below the 9 m.p.h. lower charging limit. Occasionally, we get a bit of charge. To make it all the more maddening, our local breezes trended the exact opposite of the forecast wind: while we were supposed to have northerly in the morning and southerly in the afternoon, our generator faced south all morning, then switched to north in the afternoon!

Currently, our battery bank registers 77% of charge. That’s well above our total shut down limit of 50%, but we try never to run down to 75%. So, in order to reserve remaining charge for emergencies, we’ve gone “primitive.”

cabin by oil lamp light

A low light morning. The room is better illuminated to the human eye than the camera’s eye. Since it’s morning, two lamps in this view are not lit (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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Seeing the Aladdin Light

By , March 2, 2015

Years ago, when I became interested in oil lamps (see Oil Lamps as Alternative Lighting in the Home) I read about Aladdin lamps. I’d occasionally seen them in family and friends’ homes growing up, but avoided them because they use mantles to create light.

I come from a camping family. The tungsten-bright light of the old pump Coleman lanterns had illuminated many evenings in my childhood. One afternoon, on a family campout, I found the camp’s Coleman unlit and unattended. Curious, I opened the lantern and gently touched the mantle. It broke, crumbling so easily, I had the impression the fine mesh had been nothing more than ash.

Our new/used Aladdin lamp (no flash, exposure is all lamp light). (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

Our new/used Aladdin lamp (no flash, exposure is all lamp light). (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

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