Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Button Lamp

I just ran across this picture... and wondered if you have ever heard of a "button lamp." Many years ago, we got this idea from one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books called The Long Hard Winter. These are easy and fun to make and if you ever find yourself with no electricity, no candles... nothing to make light with, please remember this! All you need is a small glass dish or saucer, a button - not a plastic button, but one made of shell, glass or wood, a small square of cotton fabric, a piece of string and a match to light it with! The reason you don't use plastic is that if the flame contacts the button, you will have a cloud of toxic and not very nice smelling fumes coming off of it.

Cut your cotton fabric large enough to wrap tightly around the button and use the string or thread to tie it on, leaving the little pointy ends sticking up. Then, put some sort of oil or fat (Ma Ingalls used axel grease I think!) into your dish... don't use very much. You don't want to drown the flame. Put the wrapped button into the fat and get a little bit of it on the "wick" and then light it! This makes a very satisfactory light in an emergency.

One time, many years ago, the power went out. The children got busy making button lamps. We had several of them (more than we needed!) lit and happily giving light to our home, and then of course the power came back on! We were sincerely dissappointed!
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  1. I have never heard of that before-- how cool is that! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wonder if you could use something like a metal washer.


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