Learn about Colza Lamps

Colza oil is a vegetable oil produced from rape seeds. It was used for domestic lighting in Europe before the invention of kerosene. It was used in both Argand lamps, and Carcel lamps, but is more associated with the Cancel lamp.

The Argand lamp was invented and patented in 1780 by Frenchman Aimé Argand (1750 – 1803). Because of the weight of the oil, the reservoir was mounted above the burner, and the wick was supplied with fuel by a gravity feed.

This was a major disadvantage of the lamp as a shadow was cast behind the reservoir.

The Carcel lamp was invented by the French watchmaker Bernard Guillaume Carcel (1750–1818) to overcome the disadvantage of the Argand lamp. He invented a clockwork mechanism that that drove a small pump in the tank that fed the Colza oil from a reservoir below the burner.

Both the Argand lamp and Carcel lamp were superseded when kerosene became available as a fuel for lamps.

Kerosene had been invented in 1846 by Canadian Abraham Pineo Gesner (1797 –1864). His research into minerals resulted the development of a process to refine a liquid fuel from coal, bitumen and oil shale. more...
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

A pair of bronze Colza lamps, of rhyton form with dolphin head mount on footed base, fitted for electricity and later shades, 32 cm width x 24 cm high (2).

A gilt bronze and bronze Colza oil lamp, French, circa 1820, with glass shades, approx. 95 cm drop and 65 cm wide. Provenance: Hadspen house, Somerset, England

A French Empire gilt metal colza ceiling light, the six anthemion and Medusa mask cast arms issuing from a circular reservoir applied with mounts of Hercules and a Muse, the reservoir surmounted by an urn with flambe finial, 85 cm drop, 66 cm diam

A fine Regency ormolu colza ceiling light, the leafy cast ceiling rose suspending a platform applied with acanthus scroll, flowerhead and berry mounts, the six lights emanating from male masks with individually cast with different beards and wreaths of she

A fine Regency ormolu colza ceiling light, with leafy cast ceiling rose and chains suspending a platform elaborately mounted with acanthus, flowers and vines, the five lights emanating from male masks individually cast with different beards and wreaths con

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