Laboratory equipment consisting of a glass container with a metal cap having a cylindrical tube pointing straight up out of it, through which a length of cotton wick passes. The lamp is filled with denatured alcohol, which soaks into the wick. The part of the wick that sticks out (about a quarter-inch or so) is ignited, producing a blue flame. Usually, an alcohol lamp will have a little knob on the cap that adjusts the amount of wick exposed. It's desirable to have enough wick showing that you get a good flame, but not so much that the flame is large and soot-producing.

Alcohol lamps are used in chemistry and biology laboratories. They have many other uses too, for example: to warm up tools used to work with wax, to melt wax in a tjanting tool used for batik, to heat up a mandrel in preparation for forming the tube of a bassoon reed, etc. -- basically, anytime it's desired to heat things up. Since burning alcohol doesn't give off much light, alcohol lamps haven't been used much for that purpose, but they used to be used sometimes in conjunction with a mantle as a source of radiant heat for living quarters.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.