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.
- 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.