III. THE only real danger which may attend the use of the little sponge lamps arises from accidental spilling of spirit used for filling them in the neighbourhood of a flame, or from carrying out the operation of filling in the vicinity of a light. Indeed, such casualties as have been attendant upon the use of petroleum-spirit as an illuminant have teen mainly connected with the keeping and handling of the supplies of this very volatile liquid, and are largely attributable to want of caution or to forgetfulness. The salutary regulation prescribed by law, that vessels containing the spirit shall bear a conspicuous label indicating its dangerous character, has undoubtedly operated very beneficially in diminishing the frequency of accidents with it, by constantly admonishing to caution. It is a matter for much surprise and regret that the manufacturers of a class of miners' safety lamps, consisting of modifications of well-known types, with the ordinary oil lamp replaced by the sponge lamp, in which petroleum-spirit is burned, should have allowed trade interests to induce them to mislead those to use these lamps with regard to the nature of the illuminant supplied with them, by devising a name for it which gives a false indication of its nature, being designed to create the belief that it is an article of special manufacture, allied in character to a comparatively very safe oil largely used in miners' lamps, while in reality it is a well-known article of commerce, the safe storage and use of which demand special precautions and vigilance.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Accidental Explosions Produced by Non-Explosive Liquids 1 . Nature 31, 518–521 (1885). https://doi.org/10.1038/031518a0