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TITLE
Early forms of lighting devices
EXTERNAL ID
QZP99_94032_02_08
PLACENAME
N/A
CREATOR
I F Grant
SOURCE
Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library
ASSET ID
38554
KEYWORDS
light
lights
furniture
interior
interiors
house
cottage
candle
fir candle
fir-candle
household
implements
Early forms of lighting devices

This image is from the collection of historian and folklorist Isabel F. Grant and shows a variety of early forms of lighting devices used in the Highlands. In her book, 'Highland Folk Ways', I F Grant describes the manufacture and use of these devices in detail.

Two cruisies are shown in the foreground, on the right of the image. A cruisie was a lighting device made of iron, consisting of two leaf-shaped vessels, one placed on a ratchet above the other. The cruisie could then be tilted forward, and the drip caught, so that all the oil could be used up. Peeled rushes were used as wicks, but a thin sliver of the outer covering of the rush was left intact, to prevent the soft inner part from breaking. Fish oil was usually used in cruisies, and therefore they were especially used in island and coastal communities.

In the background of the image, a variety of holders for 'fir-candles' can be seen. I F Grant notes that fir-candles were used in inland areas and were made of "splinters of resinous fir-wood, or better still, knots from pine-trees buried in the peat mosses". Fir-candles had to be very dry and burnt out quickly. The devices in which they were held often contained an iron clip that the fir-candle was slotted into.

Fir-candles were replaced in the nineteenth century by an early type of naphtha iron lamp called 'oilie bubbies'. These were replaced by paraffin lamps and then by Tilley lamps, and finally by electric lighting. I F Grant notes that, by 1951, an estimated one in every six crofthouses had electric light.


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Early forms of lighting devices

light; lights; furniture; interior; interiors; house; cottage; candle; fir candle; fir-candle; household; implements

Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library

I F Grant Photographic Archive

This image is from the collection of historian and folklorist Isabel F. Grant and shows a variety of early forms of lighting devices used in the Highlands. In her book, 'Highland Folk Ways', I F Grant describes the manufacture and use of these devices in detail. <br /> <br /> Two cruisies are shown in the foreground, on the right of the image. A cruisie was a lighting device made of iron, consisting of two leaf-shaped vessels, one placed on a ratchet above the other. The cruisie could then be tilted forward, and the drip caught, so that all the oil could be used up. Peeled rushes were used as wicks, but a thin sliver of the outer covering of the rush was left intact, to prevent the soft inner part from breaking. Fish oil was usually used in cruisies, and therefore they were especially used in island and coastal communities.<br /> <br /> In the background of the image, a variety of holders for 'fir-candles' can be seen. I F Grant notes that fir-candles were used in inland areas and were made of "splinters of resinous fir-wood, or better still, knots from pine-trees buried in the peat mosses". Fir-candles had to be very dry and burnt out quickly. The devices in which they were held often contained an iron clip that the fir-candle was slotted into. <br /> <br /> Fir-candles were replaced in the nineteenth century by an early type of naphtha iron lamp called 'oilie bubbies'. These were replaced by paraffin lamps and then by Tilley lamps, and finally by electric lighting. I F Grant notes that, by 1951, an estimated one in every six crofthouses had electric light. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: central.edsc.library@edinburgh.gov.uk">Edinburgh Central Library</a><br />