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- Date of production 19th century
- Place of creation Germany
- Dimensions height: 720 mm, width: 130 mm
- Author's designation Glück auf D R Celest
- ID no. MŻKW II/1419
- Object copyright Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska’s Virtual Museums project
The earliest source of confirmation regarding use of oil lamps in the Wieliczka Mine dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, but there are no exact data on the shape and material from which they were made. Probably, two types of oil lamps were used: clay – to be held in the hand or adapted to be placed on a flat surface; and metal – with a hook for carrying and hanging, connected with a container for tallow. The shapes of both types are similar – pear-shaped and vertical.more
The earliest source of confirmation regarding use of oil lamps in the Wieliczka Mine dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, but there are no exact data on the shape and material from which they were made. Probably, two types of oil lamps were used: clay – to be held in the hand or adapted to be placed on a flat surface; and metal – with a hook for carrying and hanging, connected with a container for tallow. The shapes of both types are similar – pear-shaped and vertical.
In connection with the higher costs of the purchase of tallow in the early 19th century, the salt pans administration conducted tests of new combustible materials. After many attempts with various fuels (turpentine oil, kerosene, linseed oil), in 1817, it was decided to introduce rapeseed oil for lighting the mine.
The oil lamps did not differ in their shape from the sebaceous ones, while the size of the oil containers varied from 80 to 200 ml. The consistency of the oil forced a structural adjustment by adding a cover to the open fuel container, in the form of properly formed sheet metal. Another variant of the oil lamp was the so-called kaganki – olejki in Silesia – in the shape of a low cylinder with a bail and a supporting hook, mounted from the top. In the bottom part, there was a kind of funnel for the wick and a pin or tongs for pulling out and extinguishing the wick.
The mining lamps, which belong to the collections of the Wieliczka Museum, are exhibits, characteristic for both local salt pans (Wieliczka, Bochnia) as well as original objects from Polish and foreign mining centres.
The presented oil mining lamp was made using iron and brass in Germany in the 19th century. The oil container has an octagonal plan, with chamfered side walls, a slightly convex bottom, and a lid. There is a round outlet for the wick in the cover, which is also the fuel filler hole. On the lid, there is a brass handle in the shape of a rooster and a brass, irregular plate with an engraved mining emblem and the inscription Glück auf DR Celest. Two rods with a rectangular cross section are released from the side walls of the container. To them are attached (hinged?) rods of the handle and, at the top, they are vaulted in the shape of an ellipse, where there is a threaded hole. A circular handle for the lifting hook is screwed into it. On the rods of the handle, there are two brass ornaments in the shape of double rolls with concave side walls. A handle is attached to one of them (a rectangular plate with a hole) on the wick adjustment pliers. The support hook has the shape of a straight long rod, ending with a mining pickaxe sling. The rod is decorated with two double brass rolls, with concave side walls. At its beginning, there is a brass head of an animal (a dog?). In the middle of its length, a rod is formed in the shape of a heart, to which a chain is attached to suspend the pliers for regulation of the wick (no pliers).
Elaborated by Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka, © all rights reserved