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Daily YouTube – Oil Lamps from Canning Jars

Katzcradul shows us how to convert a mason canning jar into an oil lamp. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but it appears I want a special top which makes it easy to adjust the wick height.

[Note: This video was not made by the editor of RTS.]

6 comments to Daily YouTube – Oil Lamps from Canning Jars

  • Wm

    Actually this is a flawed idea for a couple of reasons.

    1. An oil lamp only gives bright light and efficient light (using minimal fuel) as a result of the flue effect of the top glass..When your oil lamp is working properly your not burning oil directly but the gas produced by the lamp heating the wick.

    Just burning an oil wick without the flue effect of the top glass piece will burn up your wick, smoke up your room and give inefficient light. (use a considerable amount more of oil for poorer illumination.

    2. If you will notice glass oil lamps are built with heavy bottoms and are considerably thicker than a Mason Jar everywhere elese .. This is to help keep them stabilized, to prevent the glass from heating or cooling and to resist breaking should they be knocked over inadvertantly further the opening where the wick and adjustment mechanisism sits is considerably smaller than the oil storage area. This slows the release of lamp oil should the lamp be inadvertanly knocked over or dropped.. Increasing the chance should a fire start that it might be rapidly extinguished..(Even by a heavy wool blanket or sand bucket since ther were no modern fire extinguishers in that day.

    The configuration of the glass oil lamps of yesterday were not simply for asthetics.. Our forefathers learned thru trial and error over literally thousands of years what worked and what did not..

    This literally is one of those cases where you can say.. The old way is the right way..

    Tin lamps tend to leak at the seams unless they high quality and while it is possible to use the inexpensive ones (from places like China) all oil lamps must be carefully inspected before use.. What makes glass so useful in a home is that a good heavy glass oil lamp tends not to develop problems and if it is leaking it is cracked and if one pays a modicum of attention that would be notices.

    Sorry to burst any bubbles here but the Mason Jar Solution has some serious flaws as I have outlined..

    20+ years ago there used to be an apple game where your mission was to navagate a Prarie Schooner the East to the West.. The game was rather pedestrian.. No grahics nothing fancy just text.. But it was ruthless..
    Assessing risks and making choices in the maneuver portion of the game was all about playing it safe.. In the Service we used to train to seek the more difficult routes because invariably the easier routes were either well defended or booby trapped.. In the game were in here.. Watching out carefully to avoid bad choices is what thinking survival is all about.


    • Ok, that’s good to know. Are you saying it’s NOT safe/usable whatsoever? I can’t imagine the mason jar idea wouldn’t work or people wouldn’t be talking about it. I do understand, however, that in this case it seems the “old way” really is better and probably safer too. That said, i’m still interested in trying a mason lamp someday. Thanks for the warnings.

  • T.R.

    Yeah , this is fun , I have seen it done with baby food jars , just pop a slit in the top , push a wick through ……..your in business .

  • Junipers

    What a great idea. I love learning about using items for multipurposes!

  • Junipers

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this infomation with all of us. I’m going to Walmart this morning & will check on wicks and “shades.”

  • SillyD

    That’s a neat way to reuse canning jars. I wasn’t sure what to do with mine but now I have an idea!