An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and continues to this day, although not commonly anymore. They are often associated with stories in which rubbing an oil lamp would summon a genie dwelling in it. Oil lamps are a form of lighting, and were used as an alternative to candles before the use of electric lights. Starting in 1780, the Argand lamp quickly replaced other oil lamps still in their basic ancient form. These in turn were replaced by the kerosene lamp in about 1850. In small towns and rural areas the latter continued in use well into the 20th century, until such areas were finally electrified and light bulbs could be used. Sources of fuel for oil lamps include a wide variety of plants such as nuts (walnuts, almonds) and seeds (sesame, olive, castor, flax). Also widely used were animal fats (butter, fish oil, shark liver, whale blubber, seals). Most modern lamps (such as fueled lanterns) have been replaced by gas-based or petroleum-based fuels to operate when emergency non-electric light is required.
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