An olive oil lamp is a simple, safe option for emergency lighting
The answer is you can make your own olive oil lamp. You don’t need much in the way of equipment and the benefit of olive oil is that if the lamp gets knocked over, it stops burning because it has a high flash point, meaning that it’s not a very flammable material. As a result, an olive oil lamp is far safer than a candle or kerosene lantern. If you are having problems with it smoking when you blow it out, use wet fingers to put out the flame, or just douse it with the oil in the jar.
Making your lamp is relatively easy, and most likely you will have many of the materials on hand already. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A wide-mouthed glass jar (a quart-size wide-mouthed canning jar works really well)
- A short length of flexible steel wire (1 1/2 or 2 times the height of the jar)
- A wick
- Olive oil
2. Take the other end of the wire and wrap it into a coil, creating a wick stand about an inch or two tall that sits on the bottom of the jar.
3. Pinch the top of the metal coil onto about 2 inches in length of wick so that about a quarter inch or less of the wick is sticking up above the wire coil. Any longer and the wick will smoke. The other end of the wick will be soaking in the olive oil.
4. Add enough olive oil to your jar so that the level is just under where the wick is pinched by the wire. Any higher and you risk putting out the lamp with the oil.
How the Lamp Works:
The olive oil is drawn up the wick where it vaporizes and gets burned by the flame. A few ounces of oil will burn for several hours, so if you are concerned about the cost, it is much cheaper than most candles.
Want to get fancy with your olive oil lamp? You can infuse your olive oil with herbs, spices or essential oils for a more scented experience.
In the ancient world people did not have electricity like we have today, in fact the inside of the home was about as dim as a 40 watt light bulb. Most homes would contain several oil lamps because olive oil was in abundance and therefore not expensive. There was also an oven that provided a little bit of light, but the oil lamps were the main source of light in every home.
The King James Version of the Bible translates the word for lamp "candlesticks," but that is not an accurate translation because in ancient world they did not use candles. Even the seven branches on the menorah within the Tabernacle and the Temple were actually lamps that held olive oil and wicks.