Dietz #76 Oil Lamp: A Powerful Little Lighthouse
Hurricane lanterns and oil lamps might seem outdated or vintage, but these lights have many modern applications. The Dietz #76 Original Oil Burning Lantern is a long-burning oil lamp that is weather-resistant, versatile, and easy to use.
Few lighting options today require exactly zero use of electricity. Rechargeable lamps need power sources to charge. Candles generally have low light output. Solar sources aren’t dependable during winter months or overcast conditions.
And while oil lamps require users to have some specific knowledge, they provide exceptional light output and boast long burn times. Oil lamps also make for excellent outdoor lighting for backyards or patios, and they are handy tools for camping or fishing trips.
The Dietz Oil Lamp: Ready, Set, Light
When I first popped the Dietz #76 Original Oil Lantern out of the box, it was easy to unwrap, and instructions were tucked right into the handle. It took all of 20 minutes from the time it landed on my doorstep until it was alight in my backyard. All it took to get this little red sports car of an oil lamp up and running was some kerosene and few minutes for the wick to saturate.
Typically, I would let the wick saturate for 10 to 15 minutes. On this specific occasion, I wanted to see how the Deitz #76 compared to my other, older lanterns, so I let the wick soak only for as long as it took me to fill the other lanterns with kerosene.
As is the case with the Deitz #76 — or any oil lamp, for that matter — it’s advisable to fill the tank no more than 70% or 80% of capacity. Limiting the amount of fuel to this range is the best way to prevent fuel spills or leaks.
A Backyard Showdown
The first experiment I ran with this little red lantern was a quick test against the two secondhand-sourced lanterns that we use to light our backyard during fires and outdoor cookouts. In general, the Deitz #76 oil lamp was exceptionally brighter than the other two. The flame was also shockingly stable — even in as I ran, moved, and jumped around the backyard with the lantern in hand. It is also worth noting that it was a relatively windy night in Portland, with temperatures hovering just above freezing. A few quick jumps quickly extinguished the flame of the other lanterns.
Over the next few days, I lit all three of my lanterns each night in the backyard as we gathered around the fire or enjoyed the hot tub. As can be expected, the lantern’s globe became a bit foggy with soot after some use. But this barely lowered the Deitz #76’s light output and was not as severe as the fog that accumulated on the globes of my other lanterns.
I found that carrying the Dietz lantern with the flame burning at maximum height resulted in higher soot output, a test which also landed some of the soot on my hand. You can lower the soot output by reducing the flame height, which is easy to achieve thanks to the responsive burner knob. Another option is to fuel the lantern with lamp oil instead — a source that burns cleaner than kerosene.
Overall, all the backyard testing proved this lantern to be quite a step above the rest. The Dietz #76 oil lamp provided stable lighting, long burn times (8 ounces of fuel yields 11 to 12 hours of steady light), and bright output.
So, you need emergency lighting, camping light, or just an excellent lantern for your backyard and the Dietz #76 sounds like a winner. What do you do now? You head over to Amazon and snatch one, or a few, up for yourself and your closest friends. The fire engine red option is available for $28.
Make sure you feel comfortable operating any oil lamp before attempting to do so and always follow the manufacturer’s usage recommendations.
To learn more about how oil lanterns work and how to operate yours safely, head on over to our Oil Lamp Buying Guide. There you’ll also find various technical insights, features to look for, and answers to frequently asked questions.