Wind me up



Do please share in some lighthearted, though meaningful research into paraffin burners, both their origins and the tremendous variety of designs that sought to provide maximum safety, efficiency and light quality through the medium of the adjustable wick.


If you will join me in the work by providing clearly scanned pictures of any unusual "Wick Turners" that you have access to, together with some background details about the burner that they operate, then I will collate the material here in a format that can be easily researched by visitors to this website. (Come on! Don't be shy. I have received nothing so far - 17/01/04)

My experience, after nearly 30 years collecting lamps, is that I never stop learning and that particularly in regard to burners there is still much new information out there waiting to be collated. I hope that we will cover both common and rare burners, so that newcomers to this fascinating hobby of ours will benefit at all levels.

You can see that I have started the wick turning by choosing a selection of Hinkswick turners to help you turn the pages on this website.

It's a tremendous achievement and quite amazing really that the basic design of the Duplex Burner has remained unaltered for 142 years and is still in production for use in paraffin lamps today. It's my favourite burner with so many different variations on the basic theme. Here is a little background information about it's development.

In 1865 Messrs James and Joseph Hinks of Birmingham secured a patent for improvement in the burners of mineral oil lamps "whereby two or more flat flames or one circular or nearly circular flame may be produced by the use of two or more single wicks". Under this patent they manufactured their Duplex Lamp which quickly became so well known and popular as to go far in superseding all other forms of lamps.

An innovative feature, so familiar to us today, was the incorporation of a lever that raised the double extinquishers, "whereby not only is the light instantly extinguished but the wicks are also covered and protected from dirt , while all evaporation by the wick holder is prevented." They further devised an automatic lighting attachment which obviated the necessity of raising the glass chimney for lighting the lamp. This was the familiar turning key we find on older quality lamps, omitted of course on cheaper burners, even in Hink's day and inevitably on today's modern version of the duplex burner, which is still being manufactured though not to the same quality or style as achieved by Victorian manufacturers.