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Author Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
SimonRL

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Joined: 27/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 10:10:43
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I was given this at the weekend:



(click image to open full size image in new window)

I know they're not exactly rare, in fact Caving Supplies still seem to list them.

But other than it being made by the Premier Lamp & Eng Co Ltd Leeds I can't find much about them on the web.

Any info? E.g. when likely to have been made (I think the company was formed in 1913?).

Anybody know what happened to the company?

--

Keep Calm And Carry On
IP: 95.148.13.37
Alasdair Neill

Joined: 10/12/2008

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 10:25:11
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When Premier folded, probably 10-15 years ago, I think Caving Supplies took over their manufacture. Not that many people use them now with the advances in other lighting. IP: 62.171.194.10
davel

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Joined: 24/07/2007
Location: Gwynedd

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 10:28:13
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It looks as if Simon has the old style lamp with the hook and clip (though possibly some parts have broken off) to fit on the compressed fibre mining helmets that were around until at least the 1960s.

Later Premier cap lamps have a blade to fit a normal helmet lamp bracket.

I note Caving Supplies list the Premier cap lamps as "Temporarily unavailable" at the moment. (According to their website they stock calcium carbide as well.)

Dave
IP: 195.137.87.110 Edited: 10/01/2011 14:54:50 by davel
derrickman

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 11:08:12
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I have two of these lamps and they both have blades. One was bought new by me in 1970 or 1971, the other came from Wheal Geevor and had been out-of-use for several years when I acquired it in about 1974.

I have two compressed fibre helmets. One bears the date 1948 and appears to have been a managers' hat supplied in the very early days of the NCB; the other is much used and came to me from Geevor with the lamp. Both have blade fittings, along with a slot at the top-front of the crown plate for an older type hook-mounted lamp

My former club - Cambridge 4C's - used to have a sack of these helmets, but none survive AFAIK

the electric lamps always had blades, AFAIK and since these started to appear during WW2 and became general by the early 1950s at the latest, I would reckon that by 1950 at the latest all new helmets would have been fitted with blade mountings.

I believe South Crofty converted to all-electric lamps in about 1965 and Geevor by 1970. Certainly when I arrived in Camborne ( 1973 ) there were no carbide lamps to be seen in the mines, and few around - they seemed to have been scrapped wholesale by the mines.

I don't recall seeing any fibre helmets underground in the 1970s, although a few men on top still wore them. The Texolex ones were common ( with the string and leather liner and big bakelite lamp bracket Wink ) as were the full-brim and cap-style MSA v-gards, which were pretty much the standard Cornish helmet of the time.

I don't ever recall seeing the aluminium 'driller's hat' underground, I bought my first one in Kingsland's of Yarmouth in 1978 while on my way to start work with Foraky Ltd of Nottingham. I still have it; a full-brim, string-and-leather liner one. I also have a later one, bearing a 1986 date and the clip-in, 4-point harness still used in the Skullgard resin helmets produced today. The cap-style version of the aluminium hats was common in the North Sea, taking the "zero-hood" liner interchangeably with the V-Gard which was also common there.

The aluminium helmets passed out of use by the early 90s, although you still occasionally see them in out-of-the-way places - I saw a Dutch barge captain wearing one in West Africa in 2007, I have seen them occasionally on older platforms in the Dutch Sector and in the Gulf, and one of the drillers at Combe Down had one.

I have one which I bought in Kazakhstan in 2006, a new manufacture one bearing and ANSI stamp - it has a plate riveted inside the crown to pass the single-impact crown blow test required by that standard. There were at least two of these in circulation among the drillers at Combe Down, oddly enough.



IP: 86.30.241.199
Morlock

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 13:35:38
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Brings back some happy memories. Smile Bought my first small Premier about 1960 for 19/6d, had to travel (by train) from Cardiff to Bristol, still remember the shop (Joseph Bryant).
It was the model with the hook and clip fitting.

Company trademark.



(click image to open full size image in new window)

Some of their range.



(click image to open full size image in new window)

Type still used on the railways in the 1960s.



(click image to open full size image in new window)
IP: 86.23.96.145 Edited: 10/01/2011 13:37:19 by Morlock
ICLOK

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Location: Ripley, Derbyshire up North.

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 13:36:33
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Still got all 3 of mine with different nozzles and cleaning wire... all clean and light oiled for preservation purposes... Got a S%d of great tin of carbide too.... great lamps and when I look at whats available today for lighting I'm quite impressed how much we relied on them... happy days Smile

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SimonRL

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 14:07:07
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Thanks for all the info chaps Smile

I was given the lamp by a family friend who I took through the Croesor Rhosydd through trip a while back. He has caved a fair bit in the past from which time I guess he had this lamp.

Interesting to see all the photos. Also interesting to know there were two different mounts (pin and blade) for this lamp. I'm guessing that ones with the pin were manufactured specifically for mining use rather than laterly for caving?

Shall order some carbide this week - can't wait to give it a go!

--

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IP: 95.148.13.37
Morlock

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 14:18:40
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simonrl wrote:

I'm guessing that ones with the pin were manufactured specifically for mining use rather than laterly for caving?


I think the The change from pin & clip to blade mount may have coincided with the NCB change from fibre to plastic helmets?

A jet pricker is also handy, Caving Supplies, £2.65.



(click image to open full size image in new window)
IP: 86.23.96.145 Edited: 10/01/2011 14:33:23 by Morlock
derrickman

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 14:40:40
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no, many of the fibre helmets were manufactured with clip fittings. There is no actual fitting for the loop on the lamp, simply a hole punched or moulded in the upper-forward part of the crown plate. This will not accept an electric lamp; the clip-type fittings were manufactured as electric lamps became the norm.

Some early types of fibre helmet, especially the "turtle" style ones with the large, corrugated crown plates, will not accept any kind of lamp, because they do not have enough clearance - but these are rare

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davel

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 14:44:52
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simonrl wrote:

... Shall order some carbide this week - can't wait to give it a go!

In which case you may need instructions for lighting it ... my approach (if memory serves me correctly) was to:

1. Dismantle lamp and ensure it is clean and the jet is not blocked. Put some water in the top section to check the action of the water valve. (You should aim for a setting that gives one or two regular drips a second.) Adjust the knurled cap over the spring behind the flint so the striker wheel turns as easily as possible consistent with giving a spark.

2. Put carbide in the bottom section to about a third full (or less if you just want to test the lamp). Screw on top section. Put water in top section to perhaps 2/3 full and turn on valve to full on for a moment before setting it back to the position noted in step 1.

3. When you smell acetylene cup your hand over the front of the lamp to allow an explosive mixture to build up - then rapidly 'wipe' your hand to the side turning the striker wheel as you do so. The lamp will light with a loud bang! (Or not.)

4. Repeat step 3 until lamp lights or you loose patience. (In which case throw lamp outside and find your Sten.)

5. Once lit, adjust water valve to give desired length of flame. Be aware there is considerable delay between making the adjustment and seeing its effect.

Warnings:

- Keep your head to one side on caving ladders to avoid melting the lifeline or burning your knuckles.

- Do not dispose of spent carbide underground.

- Do not put spent carbide in an air-tight container as it may explode! (Acetylene spontaneously decomposes under pressure.)

Good luck

Dave
IP: 195.137.87.110 Edited: 10/01/2011 14:52:40 by davel
Morlock

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 14:49:31
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I dearly wish I'd taken the opportunity to aquire one of the fibre helmets when they were about for free.

Edit: If the rubber washer is a bit leaky the results are entertaining. Big Grin
IP: 86.31.3.39 Edited: 10/01/2011 14:53:09 by Morlock
davel

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 14:56:57
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Morlock wrote:

If the rubber washer is a bit leaky the results are entertaining. Big Grin

Ah yes, I had forgotten about that.

Dave
IP: 195.137.87.110
Ty Gwyn

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 15:13:08
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Morlock,
The one with the hook you have ,i remember my Father using them in the late 50`s early 60`s,in rgw Colliery,

In-fact,Ivy Rock Smallmine in Resolven,was the last Coal mine in South Wales to use naked lights,early 70`s they switched to electric
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droid

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 15:13:26
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Here's another one.

DO NOT dispose of your 'spent' carbide down a drain in the underpass near Leeds station.
Then hear vigorous bubbling.

Then see a geezer walking towards you looking for somewhere to lob a lighted fag end.....



Huge fun potential, carbide had.... Roll Eyes
IP: 81.108.217.215
derrickman

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 15:27:22
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davel wrote:

Morlock wrote:

If the rubber washer is a bit leaky the results are entertaining. Big Grin

Ah yes, I had forgotten about that.

Dave


also check the often-neglected felt washer which stops wet carbide getting into the back of the main jet when the lamp is dropped or laid on its side... a build-up there can result in either a blowback into the reservoir or ( more usually ) the main jet being spat into the darkness...

again, good fun as long as it is someone else..


I usually put mine out when climbing ladders, you can't see a damn thing by it and it saves your knuckles..


IP: 86.30.241.199 Edited: 10/01/2011 15:28:56 by derrickman
Morlock

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 15:30:26
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Ty Gwyn wrote:

Morlock,
The one with the hook you have ,i remember my Father using them in the late 50`s early 60`s,in rgw Colliery,

In-fact,Ivy Rock Smallmine in Resolven,was the last Coal mine in South Wales to use naked lights,early 70`s they switched to electric


I never realised they were in coal mines that late, lighting has certainly come a long way since those days.
A mate had one with the flat blade clip which still had the slots for the wire clip, must have been made before Premier upgraded their tooling.
IP: 86.23.51.171
jagman

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 15:36:46
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droid wrote:

Here's another one.

DO NOT dispose of your 'spent' carbide down a drain in the underpass near Leeds station.
Then hear vigorous bubbling.

Then see a geezer walking towards you looking for somewhere to lob a lighted fag end.....



Huge fun potential, carbide had.... Roll Eyes


Nor should you encourage seagulls to eat it......
IP: 94.10.13.49
Morlock

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 15:44:23
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jagman wrote:

droid wrote:

Here's another one.

DO NOT dispose of your 'spent' carbide down a drain in the underpass near Leeds station.
Then hear vigorous bubbling.

Then see a geezer walking towards you looking for somewhere to lob a lighted fag end.....



Huge fun potential, carbide had.... Roll Eyes


Nor should you encourage seagulls to eat it......


Laugh I can remember my Grandmother telling me about that one, along with tyeing a pair of tomcats tails together and draping them over a washing line.
Surprising what passed for entertainment in pre TV days. Shocked
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Heb

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 16:32:46
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From the Premier Catalogue.




Shows method of fixing to miners cap - I have an original cap, will post pic later.







The earlier models had a hexagonal 'grip' around the base & the water door is oval in shape.

Off to clean the carbide of my anorak now!
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sinker

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Premier carbide (acetylene) lamp
Posted: 10/01/2011 16:45:58
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And under no cicumstances should it be flushed down the toilet (in Whitby bus station for example....) as the resulting "reverse action Tsunami" will crack the pan in half and leave you with a red face and wet feet.....and a lot of explaining to do to your Grandfather.... Oops IP: 217.44.1.31
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