Prepping 101: High Output Rayo Center Draft Lamps With Diesel Fuel

Rayo Lamps on EbayDon’t Buy the Electrified Ones!
Other Center Draft Lamps on EbayWatch Video First!

Rayo Wicks: $21/5 at Lehmans, $10-$13 on Ebay

On the right is a Rayo llamp with a shade. On the left is another brand of center draft lamp that takes the same wick and works essentially the same as a Rayo. In the center is a single flat wick lamp, for comparison.  See below for pics with a book to read by your lamp.

On the right is a Rayo llamp with a shade. On the left is another brand of center draft lamp that takes the same wick and works essentially the same as a Rayo. In the center is a single flat wick lamp, for comparison. See below for pics with a book to read by your lamp.

The word “forever” doesn’t compute in the American consumer market. We are a disposable society. But after the coming collapse, you better darn have some resources that could theoretically take care of your needs, “forever.” This week I am looking at some cutting edge survival lighting technology, and it just so happens they were made at the turn of the last century. Standard Oil Company was pushing their new “kerosene
fuel at that time, hoping to replace whale oil where natural gas could not be piped, and they came out with a newly patented product called the “center draft lamp.” Mostly these lamps were made under the name “Rayo,” but you will find lamps under several names that use the same idea. The wick on a center draft lamp is round, and it fits down over the draft tube. You may have read my article on flat wick kerosene lamps, and we can actually thank one of the commenters on that article for turning me on to these Rayo lamps. They use more oil of course, but for light, they totally blow the flat wick away.
I run my center draft lamps with regular diesel fuel. This "lamp oil" from Walmart is probably a slightly finer distillate, because it is clear and not yellow. But I have found no advantage after burning for dozens of hours.

I run my center draft lamps with regular diesel fuel. This “lamp oil” from Walmart is probably a slightly finer distillate, because it is clear and not yellow. But I have found no advantage after burning for dozens of hours.

From what I can tell so far, the only downside to the Rayo is that they are not currently in production. I have tried to source them in China, but surprisingly you can get the inferior Kronos lamp in Chinese repro, but not a Rayo.

I have been able to buy about 15 Rayos for this article on Ebay, and the prices range from about $15 for a rough one, right up to $150 for a really clean one with a chimney and shade. Just beware that most of the current listings on Ebay are for **electrified** Rayos. You don’t want those. See the pictures here and the accompanying video, and you will understand the key parts you should look for to make sure that your lamp is complete. The burner is one piece, with an integral wick raiser and crank. The flame spreader is a standalone part, and I have yet to receive a fount/draft tube base that leaks. There are currently several on Ebay in the $30-$60 range depending on condition, plus shipping, and there are maybe half a dozen in the $130-$150 range complete.

The components of a Rayo are fairly basic. When you get yours, lift straight up. You'll see the channel connector. then just twist and pull up.

The components of a Rayo are fairly basic. When you get yours, lift straight up. You’ll see the channel connector. then just twist and pull up.

It was a difficult decision for me to release this article before my Aladdin lamp article, because after all, we do have 800,000 subscribers here, and there are only a handful of Rayo (and even other center draft) lamps on Ebay right now. The Aladdin lamp is in current production, and is a stalwart of the Amish community. It burns a round wick as well, but the new Aladdins don’t have a center draft tube. They draw air from the sides in a unique and nifty design. But the problem I have had with the Aladdin is that they are quirky. If the wick isn’t perfectly trimmed, you get black spots on the mantle, and the mantle design itself is a bit dainty for survival. I have some video shot already of my Aladdins, and it’s funny because I’m trying to show you how to use them and I can’t get them to run right. For my regular readers here, just go buy a Rayo and some wicks. You will never say oh darnit I should have waited and gotten an Aladdin.
The burner and wick raiser are one piece, and make sure you have this flame spreader.

The burner and wick raiser are one piece, and make sure you have this flame spreader.

The video is longish, but I wanted to show you the things to look for in the lamps, including some other center draft designs that are a lot like the Rayo, but not exact. Some center draft lamps are collectible, and I didn’t include any of those. There is actually a guild of lamp researchers, and one of them wrote a book on center draft designs. Apparently he passed away, because the collection used for the book was recently liquidated on Ebay, and some of the lamps you see here were from that collection. As you’ll see from the video, you have to be very careful when you buy a lamp that isn’t an actual Rayo. But sometimes they are also a great buy because nobody is searching for them.

I haven’t yet done any oil life measurements with the Rayos. Suffice it to say, more light equals more oil, and that is why I think these lamps are best used as an alternate heat source as well as for light. Long nights happen in the winter, when heat is a desirable outcome of light. Rayos throw some serious BTUs. I would say at least 3,000. In the summer, when you don’t want the heat, go to bed, or use a flat wick to read.

The wick on the left is the Lehmans. The pure white is roughly twice the price on Ebay, but fits a little easier.

The wick on the left is the Lehmans. The pure white is roughly twice the price on Ebay, but fits a little easier.

Upcoming, I hope to cover the different options we have out there for fuels. For these Rayo lamps, I have tested regular $2.29 a gallon gas pump low sulfur diesel against $20 per gallon and up “lamp oil” and there is no difference whatsoever in the quality of the light, the lighting ability, production of smoke, or even smell. Lamp oil is perhaps a slightly finer distillate than diesel, but not of any substance that you need to worry about for these lamps. Diesel has no explosive fumes like gasoline, and you can store it in any HDPE container, include 275/330 gallon IBC totes, as I showed you in my water articles. According to Federal Law, there is no regulation on fuel storage tanks under 550 gallons, so your local home heating oil (which is also diesel) or diesel delivery company (for farms and commercial trucking) should agree to deliver as many IBC totes worth of fuel as you care to fill right to your door. I haven’t found a better survival option in fuel storage.
Make sure you get some extra chimneys. Watch the video to see the difference in the flames. A chimney is absolutely required.

Make sure you get some extra chimneys. Watch the video to see the difference in the flames. A chimney is absolutely required.

The Rayo lamp was clearly built to last “forever.” The wicks are cheap, and they seem to last a long time if you blow the lamp out every time you burn, rather than let it run dry. As I explained in the video, the cheapest wicks are at Lehmans, though they have come up in price since I bought them. Now they are like $5 each. The ones without the red stripe on Ebay are twice the price, but a little easier to use because they are more snug. How many more candlepower will you get from a snug wick at twice the price? None more. None more candlepower most likely. So take that for what it’s worth.

Just remember, you must use a chimney with these lamps. As I showed in the video, without a chimney, these lamps are useless smokey torches. Get a few extra. You want the 2 5/8ths size. I have found one Rayo so far that had a slightly wider base. It was probably an outsourced batch. The 2 5/8ths chimney works fine on it. You just sit it on top. A 3″ chimney, which is the size of most flatwick burners, is too big. There are very few other issues to watch for. In my experience, which at this point is probably almost extensive as the guy who wrote that book, all but an occasional Rayo lamp works. Otherwise people just throw them away. Americans.

The chimney size is 2 5/8ths, and you can find chimneys in bulk on Ebay for as little as $8 each. The nicer ones are like $13.

The chimney size is 2 5/8ths, and you can find chimneys in bulk on Ebay for as little as $8 each. The nicer ones are like $13.

This lamp was slightly larger, but you can lay the chimney in it and the flame is still correct.

This lamp was slightly larger, but you can lay the chimney in it and the flame is still correct.

This is one of the two lamps I bought on Ebay that were junk. This one was caked with a smell dried cosmoline or something. Nasty smelling and impossible to get clean.

This is one of the two lamps I bought on Ebay that were junk. This one was caked with a smell dried cosmoline or something. Nasty smelling and impossible to get clean.

Just for comparison, this is a flat wick lamp.

Just for comparison, this is a flat wick lamp.

This is a Rayo, with the same camera settings at the same distance.

This is a Rayo, with the same camera settings at the same distance.

This is an Aladdin, which you'll see has a whiter light, more like a pressure lantern.

This is an Aladdin, which you’ll see has a whiter light, more like a pressure lantern.

This is a typical Rayo on Ebay.

This is a typical Rayo on Ebay.

Sometimes they go cheap without flame spreaders, which you can buy separately.

Sometimes they go cheap without flame spreaders, which you can buy separately.

I have purchased several dented lamps, and they don't ever seem to leak.

I have purchased several dented lamps, and they don’t ever seem to leak.

A cheap Rayo that someone tried to fit with a 3" chimney and bent the fins.

A cheap Rayo that someone tried to fit with a 3″ chimney and bent the fins.

There are some great buys in other brands of center draft lamps, but be careful that they are the same wick size.

There are some great buys in other brands of center draft lamps, but be careful that they are the same wick size.

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  • Hearl Condon April 11, 2024, 2:47 pm

    Great information, i have Rayo lamps and good stock of wicks, now stocking up on fuel. Again, great article…

  • helen r wooldridge February 19, 2023, 9:33 am

    The video was very enlightening. In all my searching I’ve not had this question answered. I purchased a good
    lamp. I was so thrilled with the burner I didn’t think about the ceramic glass tank/font to which it was
    attached. I am quite certain it should be operated with a center draft base. It seems a bit dangerous to use a
    Kosmos burner as if it were a flat wick oil lamp. Looks like it could hold a quart or more of fuel.

    Thanks for any advice.

  • William October 6, 2022, 5:18 pm

    As you said the don’t make center draft lamps anymore but they do make side drafts. The matador burns just like a rayo. They use a large flat wick that forms a complete circle at the top of the burner. They also make a kosmos burner which is similar to the matador, buy doesn’t need a flame spreader.

  • Chris C December 26, 2020, 4:47 pm


    I purchased an old B&H center draft oil lamp, but only now discovered it is missing the flame spreader. Do you happen to know where I might be able to get one of those? Your article was very helpful already, thank you.



  • jannki October 20, 2020, 4:44 pm

    where do you put the oil in the rayo center draft lamp. no one seems to explain that part

  • Ron J. August 28, 2020, 6:31 pm

    Where are you getting proper fitting chimneys for your Rayo lamps, the only ones I have found are
    around 2-1//2″ dia. ,even when they are listed as a 2-5/8 dia. 2-1/2″ wont even engage the mounting tines
    and will tip to one side if moved. I was told by B&P to bend the tines in to make their chimney fit better
    but the tines are interconnected not separate and may break if bent far enough to grip the chimney.
    The 2 lamps I have are 1015 years old, I don’t want to damage them.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Jim October 12, 2019, 12:50 am

    I’ve watched your video, read your post and all the comments but still don’t know which shape or length is the best chimney. Help!

  • JC July 6, 2019, 9:21 pm

    Hi, I saw your YouTube video earlier this past week, which got me interested in finding a Rayo lamp. I had originally been looking for info on an Aladdin model 9 and your video caught my eye. I do agree that the Aladdin lamps (while really nice, well made, bright, etc) are really finicky and require all specialty parts. I was able to find a Rayo locally today for fairly cheap (in near mint condition). It was filthy, however, as bad or worse than your “gummed-up” lamp. I wonder what you tried to clean yours with? I cleaned mine quickly and easily back to bright nickel finish using just lacquer thinner and a tooth brush. Not many other household chemicals are as powerful for this particular kind of oily grime. The container I used (with maybe 1/2 cup of lacquer thinner in it) was fully ink black by the time I was done. Lamp looks almost new. It makes really easy work of getting into all those tiny holes and crevices. I suggest doing this outdoors as the fumes are awful and very strong.

  • Jake Sterling June 19, 2019, 4:41 pm

    Miles Stair has a fantastic web site for people interested in kerosene. Instructions for cleaning and refinishing old gunked up lamps, how to trim wicks (no scissors!), and a lot of information on the subtleties of wicks and chimneys.

  • Roger Gilbert June 10, 2018, 2:01 pm

    I don’t know about Texas, but the diesel in Alabama isn’t near the quality of kerosene, Wally World Lamp Oil, Tiki Fuel, or anything else I’ve found. Yes, it works and works well in all my kerosene lamps, but it is also VERY abrasive on the wicks. It cokes up the wick, which requires trimming every 4 to 6 hours or so to maintain brightness, whereas other fuels such as kerosene maintains brightness for several days straight. Fortunately, trimming can be as simple as removing the flame spreader and knocking the ash off the wick with your finger. (This is actually how you’re supposed to trim the wick of a center draft lamp, set the flame as low as it will go and let it run out of fuel, then knock the ash off, rubbing around the wick in the same direction each time).

  • AA Jones October 12, 2017, 11:16 pm

    I bought a Rayo No 65 red globe hot last lantern in perfect condition. Do I have to remove the globe to light the wick? Is this lantern worth anything.

  • Emily August 12, 2017, 4:03 pm

    The rayo lamps were actually made by the Bradley Hubbard company contracted by Standard Oil to make these. Believe it or not they were practically given away. Bradley and Hubbard made hundreds of styles of center draft lamps, the Rayo being one thats commonly seen since it was made as an advertising investment. They actually are pretty fuel inefficient however, possibly because of the fact Standard Oil handed them out and wanted people to buy lots and lots of their kerosene. Theyre great for heating a room though and are much more bulletproof than an aladdin. Any of the Bradley and Hubbard or “B&H” center draft lamps are made with excellent workmanship I say even exceeds that found on the Rayo, thanks for the write up about them as they really are too well made to just let gather dust somewhere. And you’ll never silently swear at fragile mantles or proprietary chimney fitters as can be the case with Aladdins.

  • Joyce Birk March 26, 2017, 8:57 pm

    The burner is stuck on my rayo lamp. How can I listen to remove?

    • Paul Helinski March 26, 2017, 9:21 pm

      Soak it in diesel and see if you can get a knife in there to separate the old hard wick.

    • Roger Gilbert June 10, 2018, 2:29 pm

      I’ve seen on Miles Stair’s page (which he specializes in these old lamps) that you can boil the lamp in a stock pot, then remove it while it’s still hot. (Use welding gloves, please!) The heat softens that wax so that it turns loose.

      Since Miles Stair has done many lamp restorations, I kinda figure he knows what he’s doing. So do many in the vintage lamp community I’m finding.

    • JC July 6, 2019, 8:58 pm

      Easiest and simplest way to loosen any stuck lamp is with either a heat gun or a hair dryer on high. Just heat up the joint carefully (especially if it’s a glass font lamp) and the heat will soften the gummed-up oil. This has worked superbly on several lamps I’ve cleaned. Also there’s no mess.

  • ellen santana December 28, 2016, 5:23 pm

    i bought a lovely rayo at a yard sale with all parts intact, no dents. i unscrewed the burner to see what was going on inside, now when i screw the burner back on tightly the wick raiser won’t turn. i can turn the wick raiser when it is not screwed in tightly. is this a dangerous way to use it? i may have to use this tomorrow. i shouldn’t have left this test so long…thank you for your time. es

    • Paul M January 25, 2017, 3:18 am

      It’s not an issue Ellen. The wicks that fit a bit more snug tend to hang up on the draft tube in the middle for the following reason: I’ve found that there tends to be a waxy layer caked with green oxide on the draft tube; a result of water in the fuel left in the lamp for too long. The collar attached to the wick is drawn up from one side only, so the wick gets cocked on the tube and gets stuck. I’ve thought about using a tough “aircraft grade” paint stripper on that layer, which you’d find in an auto parts store or auto body supply house. It’s really all about getting that hard caked layer out. I tried sanding it, but it’s tough stuff. What I do usually is just coax the wick to the correct height by adjusting it up high while working the whole burner back into the font. Then you can lower it by turning it and backing off a bit and turning it down again if the flame is too high. Do it before you light it, gently turning the knob while pushing the wick in on the opposite side (or pinching the wick and pulling it up from the same), and just eyeball the height of the wick once you get some experience with it, then just leave it at that setting always. Do that until you can get that nasty layer out. It won’t compromise the lamp unless you’re rough with it and it breaks. Just be very gentle with it. It’s the Rayo lamp’s one design flaw, and very common.

  • Bret October 30, 2016, 7:46 pm

    Never thought I would think oil lamps are interesting and cool, but now I do. Thanks for the article. Very informative and I appreciate the time you put into it. I would like to ask if you have continued to either use or test diesel fuel in the lamps, and if you have seen any problems with that over time? Also, if there were problems did you find any solutions?

    • Paul Helinski October 30, 2016, 11:23 pm

      I actually use only diesel in them and havne’t had any problems. The only wicks I’ve had problems with using diesel are the high density fiberglass wicks that come with modern kerosene space heaters, and the same problem with that style wick with a sock wick stove.

    • Roger Gilbert June 10, 2018, 2:26 pm

      About the only issue I’ve run into burning diesel in any kerosene lamp, including the Rayo is that it cokes the wick up and requires a good trimming every 4 to 6 hours or so. With the Rayo, it’ll last all tank but you’ll notice it dwindling toward the end. Fortunately the correct way to trim the wick of a Rayo is to remove the flame spreader and rub around the circumference of the wick, in the same direction each time. You only really need to knock the ash off to get it even. You may have 1/8 inch of ash though. Once the tank is full and the ash is gone, it’ll be good as new for the night. Just be sure you have extra wicks, as they won’t last nearly as long as with other fuels.

      If trying to use diesel in a heater, you may as well forget about that one. I haven’t pulled it off yet. (Diesel is too thick)

  • Marc August 15, 2016, 11:51 am

    Just a quick note to say thanks for the work it took to put together this article and video. Came here searching for “diesel lanterns” and just bought a Rayo because of this page. If I had been aware of these beforehand, I would probably have way more Rayos and way fewer Aladdins – that mantle is a huge liability.

    Thanks again.

  • Thomas Williams June 1, 2016, 5:16 pm

    Thank you for the article. Now I do not own an Aladdin, but I was going to object to your giving such short shrift to a lamp that, compared to the Rayo, gives you twice the light for half the fuel. However having spent most of my life in states that border Canada, the times we need the most light we also need heat. One’s summertime light needs could possibly be solved by purchasing a few solar lanterns and using them in rotation. Additionally, if these Rayos put out 3k btus of heat, then two Rayos and one 10k btu kerosene heater would give you the option of 3-16k btus of heat in steps of 3 or 4k btus.
    I do, however, have a few questions. I had a friend with a kerosene heater in the 1990’s, before ulsd. He burned #1 diesel in his heater but said that #2 quickly clogged his wick. What type of run time for your wicks are you getting using diesel? If it is wax that is clogging a wick, could you clean it by boiling it in water, or would that shrink the cotton too much?
    Finally perhaps a comparison between the Aladdin and kerosene pressure lanterns would be beneficial. I do know that for some strange reason the pressure lanterns are cheaper and have cheaper spare parts. They’re also more portable, especially when lit. Some of their cons is that they’re louder and need pumped up regularly, for they won’t run well on low. Also they need to be preheated, and with most of them, if you’re going to use anything besides high proof alcohol to do this, you’ll have to take the globe off and expose the delicate mantle.

  • Grockman March 5, 2016, 11:59 am

    I just received a brass Rayo lamp I purchased on EBay that included a shade and chimney. It functions perfectly, but needs cleaning. I was wondering if Brasso would do the trick or have you found something that works well/better on the brass lamps?

    • Grockman March 8, 2016, 10:58 am

      I may have answered my own question. I found what appears to be a very good website related to all things kerosene, link posted below. There is a very detailed cleaning process with pictures. He apparently has many wick style and lists the brands he supports. I have not verified pricing, however.

      • Paul Helinski March 8, 2016, 3:14 pm

        Yes, he has wicks for nearly every center draft lamp there is.

    • JC July 6, 2019, 9:08 pm

      The only problem with Brasso or Silvo or similar cleam polishing pastes is that any residue left in cracks, holes, or crevices can then cause corrosion or simply a crusty build-up. The part of the lamp that tends to be the most dirty is the burner, and it has hundreds of small holes, slots, or other folds/nooks/crannies, so not ideal. I would suggest a chemical (liquid) cleaner that you can rinse off and dry out.

  • Aaron January 17, 2016, 4:12 am

    Paul, do you know the diameter the spider for these Rayo lamps should be? Have a lamp incoming that lacks a spider and didn’t want to let a good deal pass me by. Thanks

  • Al January 10, 2016, 9:00 am

    Awesome article Paul! You did your homework.

  • Matt January 5, 2016, 7:32 pm

    Good video. Disappointing you horded 13 lanterns before letting the cat out of the bag.

    • Paul Helinski January 5, 2016, 7:42 pm

      No, actually I let the cat out of the bag weeks ago, but only my dedicated readers read into the article enough to find it. The day after the article came out several Rayos ended in the under $30 range, complete. It was in my Surviving Black Friday and the Apocalypse article.

  • Norm January 5, 2016, 10:41 am

    So, I’m a “fool” because I called you on your unprofessional rudeness and name calling?
    I actually was with you 100% on your last comment to me, until you once again demonstrated your lack of character and professionalism by name calling.
    I know exactly what you mean about the armchair commenters who chime in with no value-add, sucking the life out of the discussion, but that isn’t always the case, and you’re making the assumption that it is. Looking for good data is the reason I’m here. However, a Google search of your name tells me all I need to know. We all have opinions; your uninformed one is that I’m a fool. My informed one is that you are a rude, hypersensitive, arrogant, self-important boor. I’ve invested over $30k in prepping over the last 15 years, and really don’t need more highly questionable info from someone of your evident character, so I’ll be sure to ignore any Gunsamerica spam from my inbox in the future.

    (P.S. My apologies for using words or terms you don’t understand; predictable that you would attack someone for that…!)

    • Paul Helinski January 5, 2016, 10:55 am

      No need. I just unsubscribed you. So all that money and how much have you served your fellow man? What value have you brought to this discussion? Why would someone who defends an ignorant fool not be an ignorant fool himself? By calling people names I add the life back in that people suck out. The internet has become a dumping ground for the useless to pretend that they have value. I could just delete the comments, and when I’m overtired and disengaged that’s what I do. But today you get the pleasure of being called a fool by one of the few people providing valuable information in the prepper world.

  • paul January 5, 2016, 5:44 am

    Living in the southwest(particulairy SoCal now) can change some ideas about about how much heat we really need. It appears that these Rayo center draft lamps put out a good amount of light and must also put out some heat. While a BOL would be served well with solar panels and backup batteries for LED light, they do not put out any heat(which is why they are so efficient). a 740 sq ft prepper cabin(built with good insulation) should be able to be heated (outside temps high 30s and 40s) pretty easily.

    I read somewhere that many ice fishing shacks use these center draft lamps under the sitting stool and they do take the chill off(not anything I have ever done). Are there any center draft lamps that put out 5000 – 10000 BTUs? This could be killing 2 birds with one stone, and saving the batteries when the solar panels are not charging fully.

    • Paul Helinski January 5, 2016, 6:20 am

      Well your solar panels are going to be mostly useless to begin with because of the Solar Radiation Management program going on in our skies. In most places you don’t get a full blue sky ever, because the planes are striping cloudcover. Fortunately we don’t need a lot of energy in the modern era of LED lights, but you do have to make sure you have back up batteries, because they fail.

      For the BTUs, see my recent article on diesel heaters. I don’t think you’ll get more than 3,000 BTUs out of one of these lamps, and they really should be attended. A small sock wick heater is what you really need, or a Perfection. Click the Prepping 101 tab at the top.

  • paul January 4, 2016, 11:54 am

    I got to thinking what would happen if we really got in trouble and wanted to make our own wicks. Isn’t Google great?

    • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 12:20 pm

      It would be great if it were actually true. But unfortunately most search results you’ll find on google these days point to sites with great SEO and articles written specifically for that, based on market research on key words. If you don’t see pictures of the actual experiment, it never happened, and most likely you are reading something written by a writer on for $20. If you start typing something into google, like “how to make a wick for” and you see “oil lamp” come up, it means that it is a common question, and those keywords have been gamed. The technology of wicks is much more complex than you would think. I ordered a roll of center draft wick from China and it fit the draft tube, but it was too thin. It couldn’t draw enough oil to keep the wick from burning itself, so that is what it did. I sent that guy in China some sample wick to match and hopefully he’ll be able to duplicate the sample.

      Unfortunately, since the prepper tv shows, the entire subject of prepping and survival is a hot topic, and it is full of absolute charletons. I have yet to find anyone who provides as comprehensive an approach as my articles here on any of these topics. And like I said, we can thank one of my readers here for the Rayo lamps. Go try to find anything at all on them. I was agonizing about covering Aladdin lamps, because they are such cluster. These things are a huge score.

      • Özcan April 4, 2020, 9:32 am

        I have a center draft lamp. It didn’t have a flame spreader when I bought it, so I made a makeshift one (I can’t find a spare in this part of the world where I live in). However, the top section of the tank gets hot to touch when the lamp is lit for 1 to 2 hours. Is it normal? How long can a center draft lamp go on a full tank of fuel? Have you ever let a lamp go on until all the fuel has been consumed? I would appreciate it if you could answer. Thanks.

  • RogerT January 4, 2016, 11:20 am

    Paul, I always enjoy your articles. They provide me enough information to know how/where to do further research on my own. This one will cause me to search thru my parents farm to see what variety of fueled lamps and heaters are sitting in the dark corners of barns and basements. I know there are several different types and it’s time to bring them all out and clean them up and locate any parts that may be required. Your work inspires me to get off of my butt and get busy. I now have a complete H-45 Heater wood/oil setup with fuel stand and fan unit tested and ready to go, something I didn’t know about until I came across your article. Thanks.

    • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 11:22 am

      Awesome. 🙂

      • WilliamW February 4, 2016, 8:55 pm

        I recently went with my wife to several antique stores after reading this article. Since I was there I searched for Rayo lamps and found almost a dozen in 2 stores… thankfully, I knew what to look for after your article and bought 2 lamps in nearly perfect condition (small dents) with good wicks for $35 each and one missing parts for $5. There were several non-Rayo center draft lamps but I didn’t buy any. Thanks so much for this article! Now I need to get a supply of diesel! I am concerned about how long I can store diesel though. Do you have any thoughts on this? Additives?

        • Paul Helinski February 4, 2016, 10:20 pm

          Pri-D check out their website they have recovered diesel from ten years old.

  • nick January 4, 2016, 11:02 am

    Hey Paul. Thanks for taking the time to write a VERY thorough, informative article, (as USUAL) about an ALTERNATIVE source of light that we might find ourselves encountering in the future. As any FOOL could see if they weren’t such a FOOL in the first place, there is a time and place and set of circumstances that might warrant the NEED or the DESIRE to use one of these type lamps and as such, your comprehensive description has now added ANOTHER skillset without our having to investigate them for ourselves. WHICH, I might add is the “Prime Directive” of prep article writing. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, an article that delves as thoroughly into the utilization of COMMON SENSE would go a long way towards helping SOME people in your audience to “Get It”. I don’t know, just sayin’. LoL

    • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 11:09 am

      The problem is that common sense is subjective. It is based on your personal paradigm, and what you have already learned. For instance, I’ve tried to explain in several articles the importance of being able to detect both high and low level radiation. And I will continue, but those articles are unanimously the least popular. What is common sense to me, that no matter what the ultimate collapse scenario, nuke plants are going to melt down, is not common sense to everyone.

  • Dan January 4, 2016, 10:56 am

    GREAT article! I have a few each of the Aladdins and Dietz style lanterns. I did get one of the “double wick” lamps from Lehmans. Obviously, it is better than a single wick, but no where close to my Aladdin! I thought I was incompetent with getting maximum light from the Aladdin, so I REALLY appreciate your perspective and homework. With my windows ready to “go dark”, I’d like to be able to see well enough to ready/study and also cook off of my kero lamps. I wished I had heard about the Rayo back when I was focused on getting my light situation for long term, but hey, now I’ll have greater depth to my light options. Thanks for sharing and making time to pull this info together. I have shared many of the Prepping 101 with my friends and family. I love to compare notes and see what others have learned. Keep up the great work!

    • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 11:23 am

      I was going to include a double wick that I got in the video but couldn’t get it to stop smoking lol.

  • John R. January 4, 2016, 10:36 am

    Thanks for the article. I have two Rayo’s and one Aladdin. One of the Rayo’s has been in my wife’s family since it was made and now at least, thanks to your video, I have Rayo 101 maintenance guideance.
    These lamps were hot, no pun intended, on the antique market in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
    Will have to get mine out of storage and prep them for use. Have had a lot of power failures this winter and they would have come in handy.
    It’s great to know an antique can be something more than an object d’art.
    Them again my wife had the foresight
    to put a Bison hand pump on our well head. We will never be without water, power or not.

  • Dave January 4, 2016, 7:56 am

    Center wick lamps like DEITZ are much cheaper and use FAR less fuel. Diesel fuel STINKS, stick to parafin based oils for clean and fresher smelling burning. In a survival situation a Rayo would be an EXTRAVAGANT and WASTEFUL alternative. In addition the Deitz lamps are SAFETY LAMPS if they fall over, the Rayo are NOT. Too much light attracts unwanted and potentially dangerous attention. Stick with center wick “farm” or railroad type oil lamps. Just my 2 cents worth.

    • Cyrus January 4, 2016, 8:19 am

      I agree with Dave – too much light is an invitation to those who want to do harm to my family. Not gonna happen on my shift!

      • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 8:29 am

        I don’t know John. That would mean that you’re a lazy brained useless fool like Dave. Are you sure you want to join that team on your “shift?” What I didn’t mention in the article is that light is particularly useful when you want to hide in a basement with your food and water and family. Do you have any of those things?

        • Norm January 4, 2016, 3:38 pm

          Wow, way too thin skinned here Paul. You might want to just defend your good article, and competently address the alternate opinions expressed, rather than resorting to ad hominem personal attacks.

          • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 8:06 pm

            Why would I need to “defend” an article that I spent a dozen hours and just under $1,000 researching for the benefit of my regular readers Norm? The way I figure, if I take the time to personally attack self important fools like you who use fifty cent words like ad hominem, maybe you’ll go away. Plus it’s kinda fun I don’t get out enough.

      • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 8:29 am

        If you had bothered to read the prior article, which you didn’t, you would see a full review of said “Dietz” lanterns, which you probably own none of. A railroad lamp is actually a signal lamp, not a reading lamp. And in fact your entire comment is nothing but useless drivel from someone who probably hasn’t held an actual lamp since that time once when your friend had one.

        • Norm January 4, 2016, 3:51 pm

          I thought the “entire comment” in general made some good points Paul, and your attack-mode defensive comments are inappropriate. His comments certainly can’t be categorized as “drivel,” unless you’re someone who is hypersensitive to anything approaching criticism at all.
          Believe it or not, some of us haven’t read any of your “prior articles” so may make a comment touching on a subject you’ve covered in the past. I have just one Dietz lantern, as well as several new Coleman’s, but am always open to new info. By the way, some people don’t have basements, and also may have different security concerns than you do.

          • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 8:04 pm

            The prior article is actually linked in this one Norm. If you are new here, you haven’t seen the onslaught of the “you can just” over and over and over again from armchair fools who have never attempted any of the things they suggest. It isn’t hypersensitivity. It is complete intolerance for suffering fools on a deadly serious subject. There are plenty of discussion boards out there, including prepping and survival boards, where nobody has spent any money or done any research, so everyone just armchairs each other and it’s a giant gaseous party of fools. I spend money here, and do actual research, and I don’t suffer fools, of which you apparently are one.

  • Smoke Hill Farm January 4, 2016, 4:45 am

    There definitely seems to be a difference between a flat & a round-wick lamp, as shown in your photos (very helpful!). However, I am wondering whether or not you can get almost as good an effect from the standard flat-wick lamp by using a good reflector, such as a semi-circular one faced with mirror Mylar (good use for cheap, thin Space Blankets?). Ideally, the round wick would be a better fix, but for those of us struggling to do this on a budget, and already have some flat-wick lamps …. would this get us a much more usable light without buying more lamps?

    I have been meaning to experiment with different reflectors, but haven’t gotten organized yet. Spend too much time humping firewood in to feed the stove.

    • Paul Helinski January 4, 2016, 6:21 am

      Not even close. Not even with a Kronos.

      • Grockman March 5, 2016, 10:44 am

        I just purchased a Rayo with shade and chimney. It is fully functional but needs cleaning (it’s a brass one). Would something like Brasso work well or do you have a better way to clean them up. Thank you for all these articles. I am working my way through all of them and acting on the information. I also found an LDS food storage center that is open in TN. Will post more on that thread.

  • Mike Krueger January 3, 2016, 10:31 pm

    Thanks for a great article…I’ve been watching Rayo lamps for a few weeks on Ebay as a result of reading one of your earlier articles on lamps. I snagged a nice one on Ebay tonight after watching your video. The seller said it is guaranteed to work, has a new wick. It has all the parts (thanks to your video I know what to look for), including a nice shade.

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