Alan Hendrickson

A Safe Lamp-Oil Torch


Hand-held live flame torches should meet certain safety guidelines while also being both inexpensive and simple to construct and operate. Propane or butane gas can be incorporated into good torch designs (see “A Butane Torch for Use Onstage” by Rod Hickey), but a local ordinance preventing the use of bottled gases onstage forced a different approach. The design presented here uses lamp oil as a fuel, is self-extinguishing if dropped, has a proven burn time of at least ten minutes, and is based on technology only as complex as a candle snuffer.

Basically, one cylindrical chamber holding an oil-soaked wick slides within another cylinder. So long as the torch bearer holds onto a knob that keeps the inner ...

Get Technical Design Solutions for Theatre now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.