Based on the cabin we had when I was a kid, I'd say yes, at least if it
is hung that close. The upper parts of the lamp got way too hot to
touch, and would singe paper. They also weigh way more than a cup hook
is rated for- you want a big S-hook into solid wood, not some itty-bitty
thing half an inch into a trim board. If a hot lamp falls and spills,
then you have a real fire hazard. I refer you to Mrs. O'Leary's cow, or
any old western movie where they have a fight in the old mine. We
usually used a sheet of shiny metal as a light reflector above or behind
the lamp- one of those old silver hot pads with heat-resistant back
would be ideal, but a patterned stainless stove backsplash would
probably work well too. Or even a sheet of galvanized with an air space
There are a variety of different oil lamps. The two I was
using are on the smallish side. The larger of the two, I
just put on a postal scale, and find out out weighs 1 pound
2 ounces (not much fuel; probably get up around a pound, 4
ounces if it was full).
I'd rather have a hot lamp hanging out of the way, compared
to on most of the flat surfaces I've got. These are smallish
Aparently, other folks have bigger or brighter lamps, which
put out more heat.
From what I heard from field reporters. Some lamps such as
Alladin are far too hot to have near a ceiling. The wick
type lamps I've got, don't seem to be a problem. I ran two,
last night. For an hour. One, the ceiling was about 95F or
so, and the other was about 115.
On Tue, 1 Dec 2009 19:30:20 -0800 (PST), "hr(bob) firstname.lastname@example.org"
I think *might* is the key. The sheetrock on the ceiling might just
discolor- but stay cool enough to not burn. But the joist on the
other side has no ventilation, so it dries out, heats up, and 2 months
from now you leave the lamp on by mistake, go to bed, and wake up with
the flames licking up a wall.
A heat shield is pretty cheap and can even be decorative. Even a
tile with an air space behind it could save the day.
Of course if you have those 10 foot ceilings like they did back in the
days when those lamps were in common use, you could drop the lamp down
3 feet from the ceiling and only have the soot to contend with.
Overall, candles and fueled lamps/heaters are sposedly THE #1 cause of all
The consequences of ANY mishap with these things are so extensive, and often
beyond our immediate control or anticipation, that I eliminate even the
*thought* of these things in my household.
Multiply this paranoia by 1,000,000 with kids around. Or rambunctious pets.
Or numerous wives. Heh.....
Not tryna be a killjoy, but the tragedies with these things are just legion.
Accidents have happenned just in *filling* these things, improperly storing
the fuel, you name it.
If yer camping etc, that's one thing, but around a regular domicile, our
guard gets naturally lax.
Very good idea. The couple small lamps I have don't seem to
put out enough heat to be an issue. Other lamps do put out
I was thinking a length of chain and a mini caribeaner for
more distance from the ceiling. S-hook or mini beaner would
work. Excellent ideas.
What about using an LED light, like the kind that recharge in sunlight
and line pathways at night. There are even lights that have a
separate collector and spotlight. That would be much safer even if a
little more $$$
Ideally, LED or other battery lights for power cuts. I've
had a couple moments when the power cut is winter time, and
the bit of heat from burning lamp oil sure feels good.
Harbor Freight has a "shed light" with remote solar panel.
I'm guessing the internal batteries are poor quality, but
some good with electric can wire in a set of nicads in
Quite possibly; yes. Back 50 to 100 years ago when typical oil lamps
with, say, a one inch wide wick, were installed on wall brackets, not
even close to the ceiling, a heat shield and light reflector was often
used. Such lamps were often used on boats (sailing schooners etc.).
PS. If you have to ask then the answer is 'for sure'!
I recall seeing modern lamps for boats, but seems that they had heat
shields above which were part of the mounting device.
Also recall the days before some family members had electricity in their
home - kerosene lamps, hung on wall. Of course, those lamps were low
enough to reach for lighting and refilling, and the ceilings were
probably 9' or 10'. They also had some sort of "fire extinguisher"
hanging on another wall - a glass globe with some sort of fluid inside.
In retrospect, I can't imagine those having much effect on a fire.
The carbon tetrachloride chemical made a good fire stopper. The problem is
it is also very dangerous to people. If you do not get liver damage from it
by it getting on your skin, the hot vapors transform into another gas that
You put out the fire and die by the chemical.
If anyone has the glass balls filled with it or any of the extinguishers
that were usually a brass container with a pump , they should be disposed of
by the proper method and never used to fight a fire.
And, the "proper method" would be? I've got antique carbon
tet extinguisher, some where. Long since dried out, but I do
have some carbon tet in a glass bottle, some where. I use it
very occasionally when a nonpolar solvent is needed.
IIRC they contained carbon tetrachloride. Now declared poisonous?
Also recall the brass pump variety sometimes used in vehicles.
Same fluid we used plentifully for cleaning greasy machine parts.
Occasionally someone would steal one of those globes off the wall if
short of 'Carbon-tet' for cleaning purposes!
That was some 60 to 65 years ago when was an apprentice!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.