Cornelius Solar Lamp Patent Model

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Robert Cornelius submitted this patent model in his patent application that received patent number 3,028 on April 6, 1843. The novel innovation in Cornelius’s lamp was its ability to burn lard and other concrete fat with a minimal amount of heat. This allowed lamps to use cheap lard for fuel instead of the costly whale oil that had dominated the lamp industry prior. The lamp used a deflector that heated a tube leading to the fuel, providing no more metal to heat the lard than was absolutely required. Cornelius’s lamp outsold those fueled by expensive whale oil, making his company the largest lighting company in America. Cornelius also attempted to perfect the daguerreotype photographic process, taking the first-ever self-portrait in 1839. Date: 1840s. Record ID: nmah_304638.

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