The Amazing Aladdin B Burner
The Aladdin B Burner
At the turn of the last century, (1900), before the Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company, the quest for clean and efficient lighting was being pursued. Whale oil had been a dominate source of fuel for lighting for quite awhile, but it was dirty and quite inefficient to say the least.
Flat wick lamps were also dirty, dim and smelly. Gas lighting was not much better and more dangerous and of course, it had to be piped in and was limited in it's distribution. A good lamp with a great burner was needed.
Petroleum based products were being extracted from the ground and with it's many different distillation products, kerosene, became the product of choice. The quest was on to develop a bright, dependable, clean, safe oil lamp.
With about a dozen models starting in 1908, each model improved with each new version. The "Nu-type model B" burner became the mainstay of the Aladdin line in 1933 or 34 up until 1955.
The Aladdin B Burner's 5 main Parts
Upper Left, gallery ............Upper Center, outer wick tube................ Right, main body
Lower Left, wick raiser ..............center, flame spreader
The Aladdin Gallery Is One Of A Kind
The condition of this one part is critical to the burner's proper operation. Not only is it the final step to channel the air flow to the wick, it holds the mantle, chimney and then itself to the main body.
This one part is worth as much as, if not more than the rest of the burner put together, It is the one thing that one looks at to ascertain the condition or value of the whole burner.
Body, Flame Spreader
The body holds everything together and consists of the inner wick tube, thumb wheel which raises and lowers the wick, and the shell with the small holes that allow the air to enter the burner.
The thimble like flame spreader sits inside of the inner wick tube and delivers air to the inside of the wick to balance out the air flow and even up the flame.
Outer Wick Tube
The outer wick tube with it's "collar" of air holes, provides outer support for the special Aladdin round wick and allows the air flow to continue up towards the flame.
This piece is actually 2 in1, the collar part is pressed onto the center tube. I mention this because these pieces sometimes come apart which causes "slip" when raising or lowering the wick, which fowls up the operation of the burner.
The good news is that it is fixable by soldering the 2 back together with a high heat tolerant solder.
This part is the piece that actually holds the wick and fits into the body and cogs of the thumb wheel to allow it to be raised and lowered, thus adjusting the flame height, and consequently, the brightness of the lamp.
Taking The Burner Apart
Taking the burner apart is simple but I mention 1 caution. If the old wick is in the burner and it DOES NOT go up and down, DO NOT force it up or down as this may damage the riser cog in the body and or raiser. If the old wick is stuck, just soak in lamp oil, it should loosen up. If that doesn't work, remove outer wick tube and CAREFULLY cut the wick on it's side with a razor knife. At this point you will need a new wick anyway.
Remove flame spreader
Remove outer wick tube, (bayonet type mount, rotate and pull upwards).
Remove wick raiser, if no wick, it will probably fall out.
Ready for cleaning....Read on.
Cleaning and Polishing - lemon kool-aid, yes I'm serious.
The first step is to soak it for about an hour in a mix of double strength lemon kool-aid (with NO sugar), it is amazing the initial tarnish that it removes and how much brighter it looks at this point, use a Q-Tip to help get into the narrow inside of the burner body, If you can get a hold of some long wooden swabs from your doctor, these work best.
Rinse and let dry thoroughly. You may need to use mineral spirit, kerosene, or lamp oil if there is anything stubborn on the burner. If the burner is fairly "clean" the kool-aid soak and polishing should do it.
.Next part is to polish with some great stuff called "Neverdull". It is an awesome brass, silver, and general metal polisher. With Neverdull, you can gauge for yourself on how much of a shine you want to end up with, from a soft old look patina to a brilliant bright brass or nickel shine. You just want to be more careful on the nickel plated burners, especially if the nickel plate is already worn as some nickel burners are.
The Mantle, Wick and Chimney
It won't work without the chimney either.
Now that we have seen the metal mechanical parts, we come down to three more crucial ones. The Aladdin wick is a round one, which allows air to be distributed to the inside of the flame, in addition to the gallery distributing air to the out side of the flame.
Of course, the WICK transfers the fuel from the fount (base) to the "chamber".
The result is a very efficient mix of 94% air and 6% kerosene vapor which produces a nice blue flame, resulting in very high heat that causes the MANTLE to incandesce, it is because of this efficient ratio that a clean, complete combustion takes place.
The CHIMNEY is special to Aladdin and is made for Aladdins only, and is essential to proper air flow and total operation of the lamp. It is made of special high heat tolerant glass, this is why you should not try to use a standard kerosene lamp chimney, even if you could get them to fit.
Current Aladdin 23 Burner
Great Descendant of the "B" Burner
If you buy a new Aladdin today, this is the burner you will get, it burns on the same principle and method as the model "B" and just as well. Whichever burner you have, these two burners have the same screw in threads and can be used on any glass or metal base with same threads.
Earlier models 1-12 have different screw in threads but the majority and bulk of Aladdins one will encounter will be the "B" type threads.
As with the earlier "B" burner, this one comes in brass or plated nickel, (shown).
My Favorite Christmas Holiday Aladdin
Aladdin's Christmas Holly Shade
This 2003 Ruby Red Short Lincoln Drape is a favorite, not only is it a beautiful red, it makes for great Christmas decorum, pleasing to the eyes, and of course, fully functional.
This one (when new) comes with a 23 burner, I changed it to a B burner as I wanted to keep the original new and unused in the box, that's the collector side of me as I have more B burners than 23's. I love the fact that we have 70 yr. old technology working perfectly today.
I also have a great 1999 Emerald Green which also gets enlisted for Christmas duty sometimes, but the red one is my favorite.
Click on the picture and it will take you to my other lens on Aladdin Lamps with more pics, including the Emerald Green one.
Shades, Decorative and Functional - made of glass or paper
As with all Aladdin parts, you need them all to work properly, and that includes the shade, (not the chimney). The lamp will burn, but you may have some very annoying spots on your eyes if the the burner is not covered. The shade is not only decorative, but helps to evenly distribute the light and saves discomfort to your eyes, and yes, the mantle is that bright, that's the beauty of an Aladdin, bright efficient light.
Go ahead and continue that novel while you wait for the power to come back on.
Aladdin Items on Amazon
for model 23 burners
For models A-B-C burners
"Lox On". 2-5/8"W at base. 12" tall. Fits models 12, A, B, C, 21C, 23
More Aladdin on Amazon
90 Year old technology still useful today!
What would be, or is your PRIMARY reason for owning an Aladdin lamp?
Aladdin Related Links
- Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company
Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company's home page, Just redone, Great new look!
- Aladdin Knights of the Mystic Light
Lots of great info here, and you don't have to be a member, but if you are interested, go to the "Mystic Light Newsletter" portion, for information on how to join the Aladdin Knights.
- Aladdin Collector
Great site with wonderful color photos of most if not all of the kerosene Aladdins....Also, don't miss under "Vertiques" / "See the Glow". The use of uranium oxide in glass is pretty cool.