Description of Humphrey Davy's Safety Lamp

The final version of the lamp was wonderfully simple and surprisingly small. It was a standard uninsulated oil lamp, approximately sixteen inches high, with an adjustable cotton wick, enclosed in a tall column or ‘chimney’ of fine iron mesh. Astonishingly, the lamp required no other protection. In later models Davy added various improvements, largely designed to withstand rough use in the mine.

Yet the fundamental notion that flame would not pass through gauze appeared so unlikely, so completely counter-intuitive, that Davy had to lay out the stages of his discovery with absolute clarity, step by step. The result was a new kind of scientific narrative. The uncertainty and false starts of the experimental laboratory disappeared. Faraday’s sketches showed that trial models had originally included a piston-bellows lamp, a spring-valve lamp and a hinged lamp, none of which was subsequently mentioned.81 Instead the account was transformed into a gripping, single-track narrative of progressive, seemingly inevitable, discovery.


The flame was exposed, but surrounded by a wire mesh that acted as a heat sink to prevent the flame from igniting the gases surrounding it.

Folksonomies: engineering invention

/home and garden/home furnishings/lamps and lighting (0.612259)
/technology and computing/consumer electronics/tv and video equipment/projectors (0.255969)
/sports/running and jogging (0.205379)

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Gauze (0.971015): dbpedia | freebase
Humphry Davy (0.950839): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Safety lamp (0.904865): dbpedia | freebase
Michael Faraday (0.733647): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Mesh (0.661525): dbpedia | freebase
Lamps (0.644176): dbpedia
Royal Institution (0.635994): geo | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Felling mine disaster (0.605200): geo | dbpedia | freebase | yago

 The Age of Wonder
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Holmes , Richard (2010-03-02), The Age of Wonder, Vintage, Retrieved on 2012-01-02
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: history enlightenment science


    02 MAY 2013

     Science Improves Our Quality of Life

    Examples of science, technology, and invention improving the human condition.