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lighting: Early Sources of Artificial Lighting

The earliest means of artificial lighting were the open fire, firebrands, and torches. The first lamp was a dish of stone (later of clay, pottery, or metal) containing vegetable or animal oil and a wick. This was succeeded by the candle , first made of wax and later also of tallow, and by the lantern, which is of early origin. The Argand burner was an improved oil lamp with a burner and a chimney, and this type of lamp was widely used after the Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner popularized the use of kerosene.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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