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Parts of an Oil Lamp

Veronica Romualdez

Oil lamps are used as a source of light by using fuel such as kerosene. They come in different shapes, sizes and designs and also come in different materials such as brass and porcelain. Although they were popular before the invention of electric lights, oil lamps are still widely used today for their beauty and for the light that they produce. An oil lamp is made of many parts, each having its own function to provide just the right amount of light needed.


Parts of an Oil Lamp

The chimney is a tube made of glass that rests on the rim of the burner. The chimney functions to provide proper air flow to produce a bright flame. It is also through the chimney that you can see the flame of the lamp. Depending on the size of the oil lamp, chimneys range from 12 inches in height to as small as three and a half inches in height.

Lampshade/Shade Holder

The lampshade is a decorative element but also works to diffuse the light that that is being omitted by the flame. It's made of glass and is usually etched with a pattern such as a floral design. Lampshades come in different shapes, colors, sizes and designs.

The shade holder is made of metal and rests on the burner. It functions by holding the lampshade in place.


A burner is a device that is made of brass that is connected to the lamp's collar. The burner is where the wick is attached.

Wick/Wick Raiser Knob

The wick is a woven cotton, linen or flax cord that draws the oil into the burner. Wicks come in different widths and the size that's used depends on the type of oil lamp being used. The size of wicks used for oil lamps range from one and a half inches in diameter to 3/16 inch in diameter. The thicker wicks burn fuel more slowly than the think ones.

The wick raiser knob is attached to the burner. The knob allows you to control the size of the flame.

Collar/Oil Font

The collar is a brass ring that is positioned on top for a burner and is attached to the glass neck of the oil font using plaster, latex caulk, or putty.

The oil font is a glass or metal container that holds the oil in the lamp.


The connector is a cylinder made of brass that supports the oil font. It is usually used to connect metal bases to glass or ceramic lamp fonts. Not all oil lamps, however, have connectors.

Lamp Base

The base of a lamp can be made out of iron, brass or marble. It is the piece that is used to support the entire lamp and is held in place by center threaded rod. The base of an oil lamp also comes in different shapes, sizes and designs from simple designs to intricate patterns.