Today’s article gives you a new use for rancid olive oil that is no longer fit for kitchen use, but still too expensive just to throw away.
One of the historic uses of olive oil has been in lamps – lamp quality olive oil is still a major use of worldwide olive crop, and one of the Biblical parables that speaks directly to preppers (The parable of the ten virgins, Matthew Chapter 25) deals with wise ladies bring olive oil for their lamps, and foolish girls not thinking ahead.
Anyway…. Olive oil is great for lighting, it doesn’t smoke is relatively bright, and if you use used olive oil, or rancid oil from older storage, is very cost effective.
You can get as complicated as you want as you gain experience, but you do need to be aware that since oil is thicker than kerosene it won’t wick up as far so it cannot be used in lamps designed for lamp oil or kerosene.
To make a simple olive oil lamp I use a bit of wire or paperclip, a glass jar, a length of cotton string, and some oil. (In the Selco course I reviewed earlier – he talks about always carrying the makings of such a lamp so that he could construct one as needed during nightly foraging as batteries quickly became extremely hard to find).
Simply bend one end of the wire so that it can hold the string. I like to wind a couple loops using a pair of pliars so that I end up with something resembling a very small key ring and wedge the strung between the loops, but it really does not matter as long as the string is securely held.
I then bend the wire so that the sting is held roughly center in the jar, and around ½ inch above the level of the oil.
With the far end of the wire, I bend it to rest securely on the end of the jar.
Fill the jug with oil. It is not necessary, nor advisable to fill the jar fully, as the wick will only pull the oil up a little ways, and the more full the jug, the greater the likelihood of an accident. I normally fill the jar a couple inches, and use the rest of the jar as a globe.
Dip the wick in the oil, raise it out, light it, and then replace.
As you can see in the video, it makes a very usable light.
palm sized lamp is a replica of the lamps used at the time King Herod. These lamps were made from clay that was baked, terra cotta. The Herodian lamp dates from about 50BC through the time of Christ. It is wheel made with the spout added later. Olive oil is the preferred fuel for burning. This very well could have been the style of lamp in Mary and Joseph's house and also the lamp type that was used in the Upper Room.