Davy lamp

safety lamp for use in flammable atmospheres

The Davy lamp is a safety lamp for use in mines. It was invented in 1815 by Sir Humphry Davy.[1]

It is a wick lamp with the flame enclosed inside a mesh screen. It was created for use in coal mines, where explosions happened in the presence of methane and other flammable gases. Those gases, called firedamyp or minedamp, did not ignite a shielded flame. The wire mesh put flames out.

The lamp also warned the men of carbon dioxide or methane. The flame would burn higher, and with a blue tinge. Modern versions of the lamp are still used to test mine gases, but the light for working is now electric.


  1. Brief History of the Miner's Flame Safety Lamp Archived 2003-08-26 at the Wayback Machine at minerslamps.net. Accesses 7 July 20121
  • Davy, Humphry 1816. On the fire-damp of coal mines, and on methods of lighting the mines so as to prevent its explosion. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 106: 1.