Oil-wick miner’s lamp – Patent model from 1879 at the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institution recently opened access to a huge trove of photographs and patent models from its collection.

Among these objects are several with deep connections to Pennsylvania’s Coal Region, including this patent model of a new miner’s lamp created by John H. Gable of Shamokin. He submitted this to the United States Patent Office in 1879.

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From the Smithsonian:

This oil-wick cap lamp is a patent model constructed by John H. Gable of Shamokin, Pennsylvania that received patent number 217,791 on July 22, 1879. Gable’s claim in the patent filing is a miner’s lamp “having a rear attachment-hook, a transversely-flattened spout-burner that extends upward from the front of the body, having a small diameter in the plane of the hook, and spreading laterally to form a flame thin at the sides and broad in front.”

These laps were used by miners in the Coal Region while working deep beneath the earth.

Coal Miners at Work (1)
Miners in the Coal Region with cap lamps.

You can read the full listing from the Smithsonian by clicking here. 


Featured Image: John H. Gable’s 1879 patent model of a miner’s cap lamp. (Smithsonian)

Search the newly digitized images at Smithsonian here.


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