Cabinet of mining lamps

State Chancellery Saarland

Teil der Ausstellung "Das Erbe" 250 Jahre Bergbau im Saarland

Open shells and "frogs" (1820-1900)
The lamps that were referred to as "frogs" due to their shape were operated with tallow or rapeseed oil. Frog lamps are available in different designs and were mainly named after their origin. The most famous models were therefore called Harz Frog, Westphalia Frog and Saarland Frog. Like the open shells, they were very dangerous due to the open flame and caused numerous major accidents as a result of gas and dust ignition related to coal mining.
Karbidoder acetylene lamps (1900-1930), petrol lamps (1850-1960), bucket lamps (1945-1950)
Karbidoder acetylene lamps (1900-1930) In the case of acetylene lamps, the acetylene is generated in the lamp itself. Acetylene is a gas that is made from the reaction of water with calcium carbide under heat generation. The acetylene lamp emitted a very bright light, but also had an open flame which easily came into contact with people's hands or items of clothing and soon disappeared from underground mining operations due to the risk of firedamp. Petrol lamps (1850-1960) In 1816, the English physicist Sir Humphry Davy observed that a gas flame did not penetrate through a close knit wire mesh held over it, even if there was combustible gases above the mesh. This finding led to the development of the petrol safety lamp. If the methane gas penetrated the lamp with the air, a blueish aureole, a blue "cone", was generated above the flame which the miner was able to use to assess the methane content of the weather. Building on Davy's invention, Carl Wolf from Zwickau had a lamp with petrol fire patented in 1884 which burnt very brightly and did not give off sooty smoke. This meant that the miners had a safer and sufficiently bright miner's lamp at their disposal. Basket lamps (1945-1950) Basket lamps were large and relatively heavy and were mainly used as crew lamps. They were the first electrical lamps. Despite their size, their brightness was very low and aside from the burden for the miner they were too dangerous for operations underground due to their low output which is why they disappeared from mining operations again after a few years.
Electric lamps (since 1950)
Due to the continued risks caused by petrol lamps, it was absolutely vital for portable electrical lamps to be introduced in firedamp pits. The electrical lamps have a special advantage in that they can be used under all operating conditions. Its luminous flux also exceeds that of the petrol lamps fourfold. The electrical lamps are used to this very day in mining operations as head lamps which were soon to replace the bulky and heavy portable lamps.
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