Carcel lamp

Guillaume CarcelCirca 1810

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers

The clockmaker Guillaume Carcel devised a clockwork lamp that he patented in 1800 as the ‘lycnomena lamp’. His invention reduced the shadow cast by the reservoir, now beneath the lamp and not to one side. The oil is continuously raised to the lamp by a suction pump in the reservoir driven by a clockwork mechanism. This elegant and costly lamp was a familiar sight in bourgeois homes during the Restoration. Its inventor gave his name to a French unit for measuring light intensity produced by a standard lamp burning 42 grams of colza oil per hour. This version of his lamp is an expensive ceremonial model in which the clockwork mechanism was replaced by a fan at the top of the glass chimney.

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  • Title: Carcel lamp
  • Creator: Guillaume Carcel
  • Date: Circa 1810
  • Date Created: Circa 1810
  • Location: France
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Contributor: Author: Sandra Delaunay. English translation: David Wharry
  • Inventory number: Inv. 14425
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Sylvain Pelly