What is a Hurricane Lamp?

If you are interested in lamps, especially if you’re into oil lamps, there is no way that you missed hurricane lamps. If you want to know more about hurricane lamps, or you want to know what is a hurricane lamp, then this article is the right one for you. 

Hurricane lamps are very distinctive, and if you saw them, you remember how they look, that’s for sure. The only thing that might be confusing is a term that you maybe haven’t heard of. Let’s take a closer look at the hurricane lamps.

What is a hurricane lamp?

Hurricane lamps are oil-based lanterns that are specially designed to preserve and protect the flame in windy weather conditions.

Their flame is so strong that they are primarily intended to be used outdoors.

Nowadays, they are used primarily as decorative lighting items, but in the days before, they were filling their purpose. Most importantly, they were successful in doing their job of keeping the flame resistant.

They look beautiful, but since their design makes them suitable to be used in a wide range of circumstances, they are a great example of an emergency kit that can be used to deal with any type of emergency situation. It is safe to say that a hurricane lamp is a simple but ingenious contraption, indeed.

The most basic type of hurricane lamp is called a wick-oil lamp.

They are typically made of cast iron or brass, have a cylindrical wick, a base, a chimney, and a cover with a glass globe. A wick-oil lamp produces light by burning oil or gas through a wick that runs up a tall, narrow chimney to the top of the lamp. There it is burned by a small flame and then passes down through the chimney to heat a reservoir of oil in the base of the lamp. The lamp will produce light for several hours until all the oil is used up.

Why do they call it a hurricane lamp?

They call it a hurricane lamp because the tall dome that is a part of the lamp is called a “hurricane”.

Many people used to say that the flame which burns inside the hurricane lamp stays untouched and persistent even during the hurricane. Although the lamps are very resistant, that’s not the reason for their name and that term is a bit misleading.

Different types of hurricane lamps

A glass chimney even might have a perforated metal lid that protects the flame from the unwanted side effects of air even more.  

Hurricane lamps are also known as tornado lamps. Those items are very sturdy and reliable since they are used on shipboard and to mark outdoor construction projects.

Are hurricane lamps safe?

Hurricane lamps are safe if you place them on a safe, sturdy surface, far from kids and pets. Also, take care that there are no materials (fabrics) too close to the flame, for example, curtains, etc.

Safety is always the most important factor ever, and if we talk about anything that involves fire, we especially need to examine that there are no potential risks of hurting ourselves or someone else.

It is no secret that flame and flammable fuel are possible hazards, especially indoors, but if handled properly there is no reason for the panic mood. Hurricane lamps are safe, whether you wanna use them outdoors or indoors. 

If you don’t wanna take any risks, there are hurricane lamps out there on the market, designed for indoor use only

What era are hurricane lamps from?

Hurricane lamps were firstly used in the early 18th and 19th centuries, but they weren’t called by today’s name then. Instead, they were called “India shades”. They were also less practical since they were huge. 

Hurricane lamps were firstly used in the early 18th and 19th centuries, but they weren’t called by today’s name then. Instead, they were called “India shades”. They were also less practical since they were huge. 

In the 19th century, they became more decorative, and that’s the period when the richer people were using them. Candles were expensive back then.

During the mid of the 19th century, people stopped using candles, and kerosene was developed. That’s when the kerosene lamps came into the story.

What is a hurricane lamp called?

Hurricane lamps are also called oil lamps, kerosene lamps, hurricane lanterns, tornado lanterns, storm lanterns, or storm lamps.

Throughout history, hurricane lamps were called by many different names.

As we already established, in the early days they were called ”India shades”. Another term we mentioned is a ”tornado lamp”, but there are much more terms and they all stand for ”hurricane lamp”.

Why do hurricane lanterns look like that?

The main reason why the hurricane lamps look the way they do is their purpose. The most recognizable is their tall glass chimney, which has a role to protect the flame in the lamp and thus make it wind resistant.

Hurricane lanterns look like they do because they are designed to protect the flame. The container must be suitable to hold a candle or oiled wick, and the chimney must be suitable to cover the container.

Also, as we already mentioned above, a perforated metal cap might be there to make it more resistant to wind.  


Now when you know what is a hurricane lamp, we must conclude that they are an excellent addition to any home, providing both function and beauty. They are durable and can be placed in almost any room to provide light, or you can take them outdoors.

People also like to hang hurricane lanterns because they feel nostalgic. A hurricane lamp will light up any room with its soft, warm glow. Whether you’re looking for a beautiful accent or simply a practical lighting option, a hurricane lamp is a perfect solution.

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