Do-It-Yourself Olive Oil Lamp byfor Modern Survival Blog
I made this olive oil lamp years ago. I thought I would show it again as yet another alternative for a minimal light source when the power goes out. Remember though, respect the flame!
Can Olive Oil Burn?
Yes. All oil will burn at their own unique flash point temperatures.
Olive oil is a good choice for cooking because it has a high smoke point (~400 degrees-F), a high flash point (600 degrees-F), and a high auto-ignition temperature (815 degrees-F).
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You might even experiment with making your own olive oil lamp.
An olive oil lamp is a surprisingly safe and simple lamp that you can do-it-yourself. It produces light, as much as, or more than, an ordinary candle. It’s an alternative to kerosene-style oil lamps.
The concept of burning oil from vegetables (olive oil) in the home rather than petroleum based kerosene seems more appealing, less toxic, and safer.
The Romans and other ancients regularly burned olive oil in their lamps, so, the concept is sound. Pure olive oil will not produce smoke as it burns, while other types of vegetable oils may produce some residual smoke while burning.
Burning an Olive Oil Lamp
For those who are curious, the cost of burning olive oil in this lamp will depend on wick size (flame size and corresponding oil consumption).
My own experiment consumed 2 ounces (1/8 cup) of olive oil in 5 hours. This calculates out to about 15-cents per hour depending on how inexpensive you can find pure olive oil. An ordinary Votive candle may cost about 3 to 5-cents per hour to burn, although maybe not quite as bright as the oil lamp.
One safer advantage of olive oil over petroleum fuels is that olive oil is not nearly as readily flammable as petroleum fuels (e.g. it will take longer to light the wick). If the olive oil lamp is spilled, the oil will not ignite like a petroleum fueled lamp certainly will…
The flash point of a material is a good indicator of how likely it is to catch on fire if there is an ignition source nearby. At the flash point, the material will have just enough vapor available to support a flame. The lower the flash point, the more of a fire danger the material is.
Flash point of kerosene: 100°F
Flash point of olive oil: 600°F
Auto-ignition temperature of kerosene: 428°F
Auto-ignition temperature of olive oil: 815°F
CAUTION: As with any open flame, use care and caution. Respect the flame!
The author assumes no responsibility of any resultant fire.
Common sense required.