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Directions for Cleaning and Filling Lamps

A bright light comes from clean burners that allow a good draught. This means constant care on the part of the one who looks after the lamps. In the daily cleaning, first dust the chimney shade and the body of the lamp. Wash the chimney. If sooty, clean with a newspaper before washing. Next, turn the wick high enough to show all the charred part; cut this off, making it perfectly even, then rub with a piece of soft paper. Wipe the burner and any other part of the lamp that may be oily. Dry with another cloth. Fill the body of the lamp with oil to within an inch of the top, leaving plenty of room for the gas that may be generated from the kerosene, as this gas, in a lamp that has been used many times without refilling, may be a source of danger.

When lighting the lamp, turn the wick down, allowing the chimney to become heated gradually. If it is necessary to move the lighted lamp, turn the wick low. The flaring up of the flame smokes the chimney. Do not leave a lighted lamp in a room where there is no one to watch it. When putting out the light, blow across the chimney, never down into it, as this might send the flame down into the kerosene.

About once a month give the lamp a thorough cleaning. Spread out a newspaper and take the lamp apart. Wash the chimney and the shade in hot water, dry with a towel, and polish, using soft paper. Boil every part of the burner in water to which two tablespoonfuls of soda have been added. Insert new wicks if the old ones are dirty, and put the parts all securely together again. Keep an old pan and some cloths exclusively for this purpose, and be very careful not to allow the dirty hands or a drop of kerosene to come near any food.

Have a regular time in the day for cleaning the lamps, preferably immediately after all the morning work has been done after breakfast. Do not fill the lamps near the kitchen stove. Do not light a match while the oil-can is near, and never fill a lamp while it is lighted or while near another one which is lighted. If a fire is caused by kerosene, smother it with a heavy rug or a woollen garment, and do not attempt to put it out with water.


Household Science in Rural Schools (1918).


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