There were tin lamps (koroboi) and then there were pressure lamps.

Ubiquitously silver in colour, the pressure lamp was the preserve of pubs and restaurants in places without thitima and came in handy too during nocturnal functions in shags.

Being too close to the pressure lamp invariably resorted to feeling hot at the collar, beads of sweat and all, as the white wick ballooned, dilating into the rhythm of a hissing sound coming from the air pump delivering pressurised paraffin. 

See, the pressure lamp required the hand pumping of air into the tank into the gas generator where vapour burns, heating a mantle to incandescence from inside enclosed glass chamber.

Pressure lamps produce more light per unit of fuel compared to wick-type lamps. 


The pressure lamp was, however, more complicated to light.

The paraffin had to go through a control tap and on to a vapourising tube which was pre-heated using methylated spirit in a torch cup clipped around the tube which require some science!