Wicks and fuel information from Egan Bronze classical oil lamps cast in bronze with patina, title


Lamps with wicks and fuel began to appear at the close of the bronze age. These lamps were generally confined to the more temperate regions of Europe where fuel supplies were abundant beyond the primary use for cooking or other domestic uses. The climatic conditions broadly determined the form of the lamp reservoir.

Woven or braided wicks were made from fibrous materials such as; linen, papyrus, dry reeds and hemp fibers, that would by capillary action “wick” the oil from the reservoir to the nozzle end of the lamp. Fuel in the Mediterranean region was primarily olive oil; however, studies have shown that coconut, sesame, other nut and fish oil were employed as well.

The operating success of these lamps were dependent on a number of factors working together. The type of oil, (animal, vegetable or mineral), its viscosity, the ambient temperature, diameter of wick and its capillarial abilities and whether the wick was vertical or horizontal.

Also, it appears that the over-wicking capabilities of lamps were influenced by the material the lamps were made from i.e., bronze, clay or stone. The nozzle temperature had an effect of preheating the fuel, furthering its atomization, and thus resulting in more complete combustion.

For the safest use in your home, Eganbronze uses a braided fiberglass wick. Due to it's enduring qualities, this wick never needs to be trimmed, adjusted or changed. It is guaranteed for the life of the lamp. We recommend that you use only 99% pure paraffin fuel which is clear, odorless and smokeless. Find it in candle shops, grocery or hardware stores. Or order direct from The Aftosa Company at www.aftosa.com

Frank Egan 1999 - 2017