Monday, September 17, 2007

Kerosene and petroleum

I have this thing about lamps. Not electric lamps, but lamps that burn olive oil or wax or bear grease or the more modern "lamp oil." I own several of these oil burning lamps, some made when the oil was called "coal oil," and was the only light many houses had.

Coal oil has undergone changes through kerosene to lamp oil, but it's still basically liquid fuel. Coal oil was extracted from coal, while kerosene is a distillation of the new-at-the-time petroleum industry. Kerosene burned brighter and cleaner than coal oil, so it soon took the market. Later, kerosene was further refined, deodorized, made clear and renamed to lamp oil.

Ok, so that's our history lesson for the day.

I like to use the lamps now and then and it occurred to me that it might be wise to stock up a little on kerosene or lamp oil. I'm sure the price has gone up since I last bought it and I'm just as sure the price will continue going up.

I don't often stop to think of how much the oil industry has changed our lives. Many things are produced from petroleum that we take for granted. It would hurt if it were not so commonly available.

Plastics of all kinds, including the keyboard I'm typing on as well as 95% of the printer sitting here - everything from seat covers to writing pens and from dog dishes to thermostats... petroleum jelly and all the products made with it, and of course, gasoline and diesel and the roads we drive our vehicles on.

It may seem like a long leap from kerosene lamps to blacktop highways. Unfortunately, it's not. Anything having to do with petroleum is up for price increases, so if there's anything you can logically stock up on, it makes frugal sense right now.


  1. Hi Pat, love your blog:)
    You're absolutely right. Not only will plastic/petro products cost more, anything that gets to a store via a truck will go up in price. We are already seeing this here in Canada, items that were previously priced at .99 are now 1.14. I think I'll put lamp oil on the list this week:)

  2. The price on everything is rising here, too. I'm thinking that products more directly from oil will go higher comparatively.
    Thanks for you comments!

  3. Pat, you have a great blog. I'm a fan of yours. I love my oil lamp too. I want to start a collection of them. I have to put lamp oil on my list as well. It feels so cozy in the winter to have it burning. My family gave it to me for Christmas last year. Hey, maybe they will give me some fuel this year. Grin. Laura

  4. Yes, put it on your list, Laura! :)
    I love the feeling we get from lamplight, too. I have them scattered all over the house.

  5. I am frequently laughed at around my house. Working at Lehman's I have obtained several oil lamps including my favorite the Amish Double wick. The humor is that I generally am working on the computer using the double wick as a soft light source. I like the level of light more than enough to see the keyboard and any material that I am using, but not so bright that it is harsh. Besides the light from the flame is oddly soothing and relaxing. You are right about the oil, unfortunately the increase in cost are going to affect everything. Remember stuff gets to your favorite retailer using some form of fuel right now. Hopefully very soon we will be able to reduce our dependence on dead dinosaurs.

  6. Greg, I've been laughed at, too, for using some of the things I do along with the computer and cellphone. I just say I take the best of both worlds. :)

    You're right; transportation costs are affecting the price of everything for everyone. I'm of two minds about oil because my son works in the oil field. I think our problem is one of overuse because it's convenient without stopping to think of the real consequences.

    Thanks for your comments!