The humble oil lamp may only be needed to provide light during the occasional power cut today, but for thousands of years, versions of it allowed the man to see by night, as well as provide decorative and symbolic power in ceremonies and festivals. Only with the invention of the Armand Lamp in 1780, and eventually, electric lighting, were oil lamps all but extinguished. The Invention of Oil Lamp

Invention of Oil Lamp

Estimates suggest that crude lamps were first used around 80,000 B.C.E. A lamp is a vessel containing flammable oil with a slow-burning wick designed to draw up the fuel from the reserve.

Invention of Oil Lamp
Invention of Oil Lamp

Early man made lamps from stone or seashell crucibles filled with animal fat, with a piece of vegetation as the wick.

The first real oil lamp appeared alongside settled agriculture around 10,000 B.C.E. ( the Upper Paleolithic period- otherwise known as the Stone Age) With the planting of the first crops came the potential for plant oils, such olive oil, to be used in these lamps.

As well as a source of light, they were important symbols in rituals and ceremonies-the Bible and Koran both contain many references.

The Romans mass-produced clay lamps (a newly made batch was discovered buried in Pompeii by the great eruption of 79 C.E.). In the Middle Ages, candles became popular, but these never produced a flame as bright as an oil lamp.

However, in the eighteenth century, the Industrial Revolution provided the pressure necessary for innovation.

In 1780 the scientist Aime Armand developed a brighter lamp with a metal casing that burned oil with a steady, smokeless flame, but with the advent of electric lighting, a civilization-old technology was finally laid to rest.

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