Society Halls 509
for it $61.30. Late in 1861 or early in 1862 a committee of the
Philomathesians having the matter under consideration, went to
Richmond, and with the assistance of Dr. J. L. Burroughs, inspected
several types of chandeliers, some fitted with lamps to burn lard, and
others with lamps to burn kerosene, but owing to the increasing
seriousness of the War deemed it inexpedient to buy.12
The fuels used for the lamps were of several kinds: "burning fluid"
(probably the same as what is also called "gass" and "gas" in the
Society records), lamp-oil, sperm oil, refined turpentine, or as it was
also known, camphene, and kerosene. Sperm oil was bought only
once, by the Philomathesians on March 22, 1851. Until the
introduction of kerosene, which was not manufactured for commercial
distribution until 1854 and was not in general use for several years
later, the Societies usually used the "burning fluid," at first buying this
so sparingly as to suggest that candles were still used regularly, at
least to supplement the light of the lamps. In April, 1854, however,
the Euzelians were already purchasing ten gallons at a time. After
they had bought their new forty-dollar lamp with two chimneys―we
should say burners―they made an experiment with camphene, which
came near proving disastrous. Intending to have this lamp burning in
all its glory at their opening meeting of the session of 1854-55, they
purchased in Raleigh ten gallons of refined turpentine in a carboy,
which with freight cost them ten dollars. This was accidentally
destroyed. Their next purchase was eight gallons of camphene in a
carboy. At the first meeting in which this was used, the night of
August 4, 1854, the records say "an accident to the lamp caused a sus-
pension of the rules and the Society adjourns." Later minutes reveal
that the accident was an explosion causing a fire which was
extinguished only by the cool and courageous action of Isaac Franklin
Hodges, of Duplin, who was just entering college at that time, and
perhaps was fresh from a turpentine still. The
12 The committee consisted of Lansing Burroughs, W. R. Gwaltney, and S. S.
Previous Page Next Page