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Kosmos Lamp Kit - Kosmos-Brenner lamps - Sebastianbrenner - Lempereur & Bernard - Den Haan - Kosmos Concierge - B&H "Imperial" - Wild & Wessel - Veritas table lamp

"Sans Rival" borosilicate chimney for 14''' Kosmos lamps 
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Kosmos Wicks   ~~~   Kosmos Chimneys

Sizes of Kosmos Lamps

Aimé Argand of Switzerland invented and patented the Argand lamp in 1780.  This lamp burned whale oil, but used a circular wick with a separate reservoir.  The invention of kerosene in the early 1850's lead to the inexpensive flat wick kerosene lamps, essentially ending the life of the Argand lamp.  The concepts developed by Argand, however, would resurface with the folded wick Kosmos style burner in 1865 and the separate fuel reservoir being employed for "student lamps" by Manhattan Brass Co. and Kleemann of Germany. 

Wild & Wessel of Berlin in 1865 developed the "Kosmos" burner, where a flat-wick formed is round. To obtain clean burning, a side draft was used to induce combustion air to the center of the circle of wick.  

["Goes in flat, comes out round"... by a process of 'conical curling' ... shows the triangular air port allowing air to centre of flame. Also shows direct gear drive to the wick.] Photo by Alex Marrack

Wild & Wessel of Berlin in 1865 developed the "Kosmos" burner, where a flat-wick formed is round. To obtain clean burning, a side draft was used to induce combustion air to the center of the circle of wick.  The side draft burner obviated the need for a central air shaft through the fuel reservoir, and were easier to manufacture than center draft lamps.  To direct the air flow properly past the flame, these burners used a pinched, reduced diameter chimney.   Emil Wild was granted US patent #303774 on Aug. 19, 1884 for a Kosmos burner with a flame spreader.  This burner was in my opinion the epitome of brilliant design. Sold in the US as the B.B.S. "Imperial" burner. The Central Vulcan was sold by Catterson's in England. these lamps were absolutely outstanding burning lamps, easily putting out as much light as a larger center draft lamp.

W& W continued to make W&W Kosmos burners until  THE WHOLE W&W COMPANY was taken over by Hugo Schneider & Co in 1903, and Schneiders continued to make EXACTLY the same W&W range, with the same W&W markings, so you cannot date them.  (from Alex Marrack)

Brokelmann, Jager & Co. from Neheim A/D Ruhr, Germany may have started making Kosmos burners (Brenner means Burner in German) in 1899.. or before, loads of  makers made Kosmos brenners / burners by then. (from Alex Marrack).

About 1895, Ehrich & Graetz of Berlin introduced the "Matador" burner, in which a flame spreader was used.  Depending upon the width of the disk, chimneys were either straight or had a pronounced bulge.  The "Sebastianbrenner" burner used a medium sized disk on a mesh tube with a straight chimney, for example.  (ALL matadors have a very pronounced bulge and big spreaders (see my article);  other  burners have smaller spreaders and some have straight or Kosmos shaped chimneys.  (Alex Marrack)

[W&W used three names: Kosmos, Kosmos Vulkan and Central Vulkan.  It is ABSOLUTE that a Kosmos burner has no spreader and has a pinched chimney and direct gear-drive to the wick type winder  that is what defines a Kosmos  (Alex Marrack);   the Kosmos Vulkan had a Flame Spreader but not a wick carrier, and the Central Vulcan had both a flame spreader and a wick carrier, were made in both side-draft and central draft versions, and used a Vulcan style chimney.  In the UK the center draft version was sold (exclusively?) by Catterson and so called the GLOBE Vulkan (Globe being Catterson's trademark).  To complicate matters, Den Haan in Rotterdam reportedly purchased the machinery from Brokelmann and produced all versions of the Wild & Wessel burner.  [So my B&H Imperial, with a flame spreader but lacking a wick carrier, is a Kosmos Vulcan burner. 

Den Haan in Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Gaudard in France (Kosmos) still produce Kosmos and Kosmos-Brenner lamps.  The Kosmos #14 burner without a flame spreader and the Kosmos #15 burner is a Matador with flame spreader, both without wick carriers, but they have never made Vulkans or 'W&W marked Kosmos burners'  (Alex Marrack).

In addition to their fabulous 20''' and 30''' center draft lamps, L&B "Belge" also produced Kosmos-Brenner lamps with flame spreader but lacking a wick carrier, in Kosmos Vulcan style, in various styles.  My L&B Kosmos Vulcan is a 15''' pedestal lamp.

Wicks for Kosmos-Brenner lamps were measured by the flat width by the designation of "lines,"  symbolized by ''' for "line."  Light output being (in part, ( a 10 line spreader type burner, eg wizard, gives loads more light than a 14 line kosmos [A.M.] )  a function of the top surface area of a wick, the wider the wick the greater the light output.  Kosmos sizes are listed below for 6''' to 14'''.  Above 14 line, individual makers and countries had different ''' standards. (No countries had 'standards', and different makers diverged more in the larger sizes than they did in the smaller ones, there were just rather general 'habits' that were followed more or less by most makers. Standards means something fixed and governed by, for instance SAE, or BSI.) [A.M.]

Sizes of Kosmos Lamps

Determining which size wick fits a lamp when there isn't a stub of wick left to measure becomes difficult.  I have listed below the inside diameter of the top of the outside wick tube for various Kosmos lamps I own, shown below the line number and width in inches.  Please note there were hundreds of manufacturers, so dimensions may well vary, in some cases vary considerably

Kosmos Lamps, Rough measurements

Ligne size Outer wick tube diameter Wick width Chimney base diameter
6'' 0.575" 1 3/8" 1 5/16"
8''' 0.620'' 1 5/8" 1 7/16"
10''' 0.668" 1 7/8" 1 1/2"
12''' 0.724" 2 1/8" 1 7/8"
14''' 0.900" 2 9/16" 2.0" to 2 1/16"
16''' 0.916" 2 3/4" some 2.0" to 2 1/4"
18''' 1.226" 2 3/4" some 2 7/16"
20''' 1.387'' 3 5/8" 2 7/16"
24" Varies 4" varies


Wicks for Kosmos lamps are available from me - click here.

<<< Central Vulcan lighted.

>>>>>>  Typical application of smaller Kosmos burner with the definitive chimney.


One of the great advantages of Kosmos lamps is the lack of a center draft tube.  That meant that fonts could be any style or size and constructed of glass, pottery, brass, whatever suited the lamp maker.

Lampe Parisianne

This is an L&B 15''' Matador. The design with the metal reflector and often ornately embossed Kosmos or Matador fitted base are so very typical early 20th century French lamps. They are often fitted with elaborate glass bead fringes.

Owned and photographed by Peter Brickell.

Variations possible with Kosmos burners

At right, a "French Garden Lamp" made by Wild & Wessel circa 1900.  The burner is an 8'''.  This lamp was designed to permit burning outdoors in a draft (Punkah top) and light up a fancy French garden.  The short chimney inhibits really clean burning, but that is not a problem outdoors when burning as intended.

This particular lamp was purchased on eBay.fr and arrived straight from a French garden, spider webs and dirt intact.  Lamp restoredparts as received, parts after citric acid bath, parts after polishing.

Click the photo to enlarge the lamp.

Small lamps


Piano and reading lamp.


Wild & Wessel hand lamp.

Owned and photographed by Peter Brickell.


Kosmos burners allowed designers to be very creative due to the lack of a draft tube. German lamp makers often used pewter fonts with 3 or 4 faces or scenes to create beautiful, unique lamps, as shown above.  Click the photos to enlarge them.


A nice assortment of Kosmos-Brenner lamps.

At left,  a 6''' with the correct chimney burning with a 10''' and 14''' lamp together. Nice group photo!

Lamps owned and photographed by Alex Muzyka.

Click on photos to enlarge them.

This is a "Sebastianbrenner" burner made by Schwintzer & Gräff in Berlin on a L&B fount. This burner belongs to a family of burners called the "Weisslichtbrenner" or "white flame burner". They use a straight glass chimney.  20''' burner, 90mm flat wick.

Lamp owned and photographed by Alex Muzyka.

Metal font lamp with #6 Kosmos burner.  The burner is aluminum and was made in Japan.  The chimney is not correct.  A 6''' Kosmos burner is very economical of fuel.

#6 Kosmos-Brenner burner


An interesting side draft 14''' Matador lamp made by Lempereur & Bernard (L&B). It uses a standard 14''' 2 1/2" flat wick. This lamp is most interesting as it has a weird flat flame spreader (for a Kosmos-Brenner burner) and is a weird size for a Matador burner.  Left, above; lamp unlighted.  Center, lamp lighted.  Right, the unusual flame from the flat flame spreader.  Lamp owned and photographed by Alex Muzyka.


Lempereur & Bernard Brevete, 15'''.  Wick 2 3/4" wide, 0.82" thick.  Chimney 2 1/8".  Wick knob marked: "ECLA".   This is a rare L&B pedestal lamp with a side-draft burner.  The flame spreader is flat with a medium width (1 3/32") Liverpool button.  In contrast to most Kosmos style lamps, this lamp has a fill cap on the fount. "Brevete" means 'Patent."  "ECLA" means "Design Patent."   Near right, unpolished.  Far right, after soaking in citric acid and polished.

Below, left to right: disassembled and polished after citric acid bath, L&B embossed name, flame spreader.  Second row below, left to right, wick carrier, wick installed by adding a tape extension and pulling through from the bottom, and wick installed.


Den Haan nautical table lamp. A classic Kosmos burner with a weighted base which can be set in a gimbal mount for use at sea. 

2 9/16" x 9"  "14 line" wick

Kosmos Concierge lamp with #15 burner unit.

Any quality center draft lamp with a metal fount will burn brighter with less fumes and wick charring when burning mineral spirits. On the left is a photo taken without a flash of a Kosmos Concierge easily producing enough light by which to read.  The Concierge lamp is very handy to carry and store on a wall when not in use.

2 9/16" -  "14 line" wicks

Kosmos Concierge lamps available from St. Paul Mercantile.

At right is a large Veritas table lamp.  It began life with a British Duplex burner.  With the help of Alex Muzyka it now wears a large Ideal-Brenner 20''' burner with mushroom flame spreader (far right) made by Den Haan, Rotterdam (DHR).  At right it is burning with my 3 5/8" flat wick and my Success chimney. Notice the beautiful full tulip flame! Click on the photos to enlarge them.


Small Kosmos Table Lamp

Above, a 6''' Kosmos Rundbrenner.  Note the very unusual construction with a font in a cup on the base.  A 6''' Kosmos burner is extremely fuel efficient and was used for area lighting, just bright enough so people would not bump into tables and furniture at night.

My latest Wild & Wessel is a small 10''' hand lamp.  It required some repairs as it has obviously been well used in the past 120 years, but the resulting lamp is beautiful and burns perfectly.  The rare W&B Austrian chimney came with the lamp. 

Wild & Wessel 14''' KOSMOS Considerably larger than typical 14''' lamps

The photographs in this section clearly show a marked 14''' W&W Kosmos burner.  The outer wick tube is 0.951" in diameter and the wick required is 2.80'' wide - wider than many newer 18''' Kosmos burners!

Wild & Wessel lamp information

As mentioned above, Wild & Wessel of Berlin in 1865 developed the "Kosmos" burner.  Emil Wild was an undoubted genius at lamp designs.  His August 19, 1884 design for a burner with a flame spreader was sold in the US as an "Imperial" brand and in the UK under the "Vulcan" brand name.  The unique chimney for that burner was also patented by Emil Wild.  Unfortunately, Emil Wild was apparently not an astute businessman.  From what I can determine, Wild had an exclusive import arrangement with Bradley & Hubbard in the US and Catterson's in the UK,  yet failed to put a performance clause in either contract.  B &H was far more concerned with marketing their new line of center draft lamps than trying to market the more expensive, exquisite Imperial burner.  And Catterson's in the UK was more interested in selling lamps in their London department store than actually working as a wholesale agent for the Vulcan line of lamps - to the point their Vulcan lamps actually had their own badge on the burner! (There are supposedly Vulcan lamps found in the UK without the Catterson's badge, so they apparently did some wholesale business.)  Thus Imperial and Vulcan lamps are quite rare, which is a real shame because they were one of the cleanest burning lamp designs ever produced.

Some history of Catterson's as generously supplied by Rob Gregor in Australia

SP Catterson & Sons (Summarised version):-

Address was the Globe Lamp works, 87 to 89 Newington Causeway, Worthing, London SE1.

The Firm traded as "Lamp Manufacturers and Importers/Exporters" and their primary product line was Paraffin/Petroleum Lamps and Stoves. From the mid 1880's they exclusively sold limited quantities of the Wild & Wessel Lamps to one of the large London Department Stores and apparently had a small wholesale business in lamps as well.

They also had a smaller operation in Liverpool and that branch was called "The American Light Co" and it sold "Electrical Apparatus and Appliances".

In the 1930's, large sections of the UK economy were suffering contraction as a result of the "Great Depression" and Catterson's relatively narrow market segment had also contracted. Thus not only were they operating in a difficult economic environment but at that time they also became subject to serious and ongoing fraud by their head Cashier.

The fraud continued for at least 3 years due to inadequate internal controls and after it was finally detected and the culprit duly punished, it also resulted in a Court Case between Catterson's and their regular Auditors, in which they claimed the Auditors had been negligent by not detecting the fraud earlier.

It was noted by the Court that their Auditors had earlier advised Catterson's Directors on their business lacking adequate financial controls and they had also recommended a number of changes be made, but those were not put in place.

The following sequence of events is generally considered to have been the major factors in the business failure and they entered liquidation in 1937.
Contributing Factors

Catterson's, like many firms of their time, had underestimated the impact and the duration of the Western Worlds recession and they were also reluctant or unable to undertake rapid and significant restructuring. The financial cost from the long period of fraud was also significant and they then faced substantial costs from an unsuccessful Court Battle.

Court Decision (in summary):

SP Catterson & Sons [1937] 81 Acct LR 62

http://b.quizlet.com/a/i/spacer.Thhr.gifCourt stated:
Held in Auditors' favour
It was not part of their duties to tell directors how to run the business and they had no power to insist that their recommended changes were put into operation

(NOTE:  The above article contains items which may be of interest to those who collect Wild & Wessel and Globe Vulkan Lamps but it is not meant as a complete history of SP Catterson & Sons PL. Should anyone have more complete detail, this will be welcomed.)

Above, Rob Gregor's fabulous 18''' Arts & Crafts style W&W lamp. 

Photo by Rob Gregor.

Original wick in the burner.

Photo by Rob Gregor.


1 5/16"

6 '’‘ Kosmos

1 7/16"

8 ‘’‘ Kosmos

1 1/2"

10 ‘’‘ Kosmos

1 7/8"

12 ''' Kosmos


14 ‘’‘ Kosmos (British?)

2 1/16"

14 ''' Kosmos (American?)

2 1/8" - 2 1/4"

16 ''' Kosmos

2 7/16"

18 ''' Kosmos

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Center Draft Lamp manufacturers and brand names

Kosmos-Brenner lamps

Miller Lamps - a photo album

Photos of restored center draft lamps 

Victorian Era Student Lamps


Early American Metal Font & Specialty Lamps

Flame Spreaders and "Smoke Consumers" from Alex Marrack

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