New Hydro Carbon Oil from Petroleum, 1863

type: Beyond Scotland - Dorset

The Sanitary Reporter, 10th July 1863
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New Hydro Carbon Oil from Petroleum


To the Editor of the Sanitary Reporter


I have read your first number and from the character it appears to assume I think it may become a very convenient vehicle such matters as you profess to lay before your renders. Under that impression I shall feel obliged by your inserting the enclosed certificate respecting a new hydro carbon oil from petroleum and an improved moderator lamp for burning it

I am your's obediently

ER Southby MRCS

Wareham, Dorset

I hereby certify that I have carefully examined a new form of hydro carbon oil as well as a new moderator lamp for burning it. The oil is obtained from petroleum at the Wareham Oil and Candle Company's works by a process introduced by the manager Mr E.R Southby and the lamp is made with a burner of a peculiar though simple construction by Messrs JL Thomas and Co of Exeter.

The oil in question is inodorous of a very pale yellow colour and is more easily wiped off anything upon which it may be accidentally spilled than the ordinary fixed oils. It will not corrode metal and does not become gummy or foul by absorbing oxygen from the air so as to render lamps troublesome to clean all that is required being a renewal of the wick once in ten days.

I have made several trials with this oil in a full sized moderator lamp furnished by Messrs Thomas and find that the light at the fullest extent of flame without smoking carefully tested with a photometer and compared with the usual sperm test candle burning at the rate of 120 grains per hour is equal to the light of 16 such candles When the flame was reduced to the height ordinarily used and compared with the flame of an excellent full sized and well trimmed moderator lamp burning colza oil taking as before the test candle as a standard the results per hour proved as follows

Illuminating power

  • Consumption per hour of the hydro carbon oil was 7762 grains or 1 3/4 ounces 2 grains avoirdupois
  • Consumption of colza oil per hour was 2 ounces avoirdupois 12 Candles 10 Candles

When this hydro carbon oil is gradually heated it does not take fire by throwing a lighted match into it until it reaches a temperature of 320 degrees of Fahrenheit Its specific gravity and the specific gravity of other oils used as fuel for lamps stand in relation to each other in the following manner

  • Hydro carbon oil .8400
  • Sperm oil .8750
  • Colza .9150
  • Southern Whale .9225

I consider this a very valuable and very safe oil for lamps and have no doubt of its becoming extensively used

Wm Maugham Consulting Chemist Formerly Professor of Chemistry Charing Cross Hospital &c &c

15 Prospect Place Wandsworth Road Clapham

The Sanitary Reporter, 10th July 1863