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a thrill in the dark


During the 19th Century it was discovered that certain substances (notably lime)  if heated to a sufficiently high temperature could produce a  brilliant white light. The discovery was first employed  by the military to signal over vast distances  but soon the theatre adopted the device  for spot lights and  its effectiveness as a magic lantern illuminant was soon exploited. A combustible gas( hydrogen, coal gas  or ether) and oxygen were employed to achieve  a high temperature causing the lime to ignite. Needless to say  this operation was dangerous in the extreme  and  many fatal accidents occurred.

limes in a box.

Limelight burner for inside a magic lantern

blow through jet

Limelight burner for coal gas and oxygen to ignite the lime

lime light burner

Limelight burner for hyrogen or ether and oxygen to ignite the lime

gwyer jet

Limelight burner Gwyer jet


Lime block brass storage tube to  keep limes dry

folding lever and tools.jpg

Selection of gas cylinder keys


Paraffin Burners

paraffin burner

The photo shows a paraffin burner in the open position. This example has two linear wicks. Once lit the hinged top was lowered and the burner placed in the lantern. The chimney was then added to create an updraft ensuring that the flame burnt as efficiently as possible.

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