View Full Version : 18th c. Lighting?

07-12-2010, 02:55 AM
Quick question regarding lighting in the early 1700s. Say you're in a small backwoods town. I'd assume you'd have wax candles and oil lanterns?

Would a town have a centralized supply of oil (olive or whale/fish)? Or would each household deal with their own supply? (which I guess could have been purchased from a storekeeper who had the main supply)

07-12-2010, 03:23 AM
you can also make candles out of rushes, so it depends where the town is located.

If they were using rush candles, then they would obviously pick and peel their own rushes.

I believe some places paid people in candles, but I think that was more of a mediaeval practise, not 18th c.

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-12-2010, 05:41 AM
Mostly tallow candles (beeswax was expensive) and rush dips. And firelight.

If the climate allowed, olive oil lamps with just a burning wick in a aladdin's lamp sort of thing. Or rendered seal-blubber oil in the far north.

07-12-2010, 09:44 AM
What is the location of your fictional town?

07-12-2010, 03:27 PM
What is the location of your fictional town?


And thanks for all the other great tips - hadn't heard of rush candles before, so I'm off to google :)

07-12-2010, 04:32 PM
In a village that was large enough there would have been a merchant who sold the oil. A smaller village wouldn't have a merchant, so people would buy at the market on market day.

07-12-2010, 04:59 PM
Grease or "Betty" lamps used fat from the kitchen and cooking; these were very common especially among the lower economic end of the population.

07-12-2010, 05:31 PM

I think this may be what you had in mind.

07-12-2010, 05:47 PM
Nice! Any idea how long a Betty lamp like that would burn before needing refilling?

07-12-2010, 06:34 PM
Don't know but a Google search will probably have something.