When I was a girl scout, we still used kerosene lanterns when camping. We had posts near the outhouse for placing the lamp on so we'd have light to do our business. As with any gadget, these lanterns required a small amount of maitenance. To clean the glass globe, we wiped off the soot with wadded up newspaper. No cleaner, just the paper. We also had to trim the wick and of course, sometimes replace the wick.
The one pictured here came from the railroads in San Antonio where my father worked as a boy in the 1940s. Hard to see, but it has a red globe.
This little bit of skill came in handy when I wrote Eliza's Brass Token. While she's not dealing with a lantern, she's having to clean the chandelier. This would have been a normal occurance for women back then. Whether they had chandeliers or kerosene lanterns, they had to maintain them on a regular basis. Here's an excerpt:
Eliza pulled the chair under the kerosene chandelier that hung in her front room. She’d already cleaned the one in her bedroom. The lanterns hung low, just a few inches above her head, but high enough that she couldn’t reach them without benefit of a chair. Climbing on top of the chair was difficult with her sore knee, but she managed. Turning the knob that tilted the glass globe forward, she reached up and gently removed the globe. She climbed down long enough to set it aside, so she could climb back on the chair to trim the wick. With a pair of scissors in hand, she cut away the charred ends of the wick. She had to step off the chair once more to clean the globe. Using an old newspaper, she wiped the glass clean of the dark soot. Climbing back on the chair, she let the dirty newspaper drift to the ground as she positioned the globe in place.
“What in tarnations do you think you’re doing, woman?”
The glass fell from her hands and shattered into a million sharp pieces.
“Now look what you’ve done.” She teetered precariously on the chair before catching her balance.
“Me? You’re the one who’s supposed to be in bed. What were you doing, anyway?”
“I was cleaning the chandelier fixtures. I do it every Monday morning before I go to school. This Monday is no exception. They were even filthier than usual since you’ve kept me in bed for almost a week.”
“And if you had any sense, that’s where you’d be now.”
“I am not a child, Mr. Reeves. My injuries are all but healed, and most of the bruises have faded. I’ve been well enough to get out of bed for three days now, but you’ve kept me grounded to my room.”
He grinned sheepishly. “And I had to sit on you every step of the way. Was I as bad of a patient as you?”
She grinned back. “Worse.”