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P&A burner

P&A burner Two P&A burners w/
Hyde Wick Adjusters
    interesting lighting inventions     
The Hyde Wick Adjuster
Trade Card
Trade card depicting the Hyde Wick Adjuster.
The Hyde Wick Adjuster was invented by George H. Hyde of Boston, Massachusetts. In his application for patent filed on May 27, 1878, Hyde states: "My invention has for its object the evening of the different edges of a flat lamp-wick, so that the entire end of the wick shall project evenly above the top of the tube, and thus insure an even well-shaped flame, it being well known that with an ordinary adjusting device it is necessary to trim the wick in case it burns unevenly, whereas with my invention either edge of the wick may be raised or lowered sufficiently to make it even with the other edge."

The beauty of Hyde's invention was that it gave the user the ability to "fine tune" the lamp wick without having to go through the process of wick trimming. This was possible because of the two wick raisers - one for each side of the wick tube - that worked independently of the other. An uneven wick can cause the burner's flame to be uneven, which can in turn cause uneven heating of the glass chimney. In many instances, this uneven heating caused the chimney to fail by cracking or even manifest itself as a more violent shattering or "exploding." This was an apparent cause of many fires as hot fragments of glass were strewn about, igniting nearby combustibles.

Boston Lamp Co. Billhead
The Boston Lamp Company, Owners of the Patent
Hyde Wick Adjuster, illustrated billhead from 1889.

Hyde was granted United States Patent Number 211,160 for his invention on January 7, 1879. Although it is not listed in the patent papers, Hyde must have either assigned or sold the patent rights to The Boston Lamp Company, 376 Washington Street, Boston, Mass. From their illustrated billhead dated May 8, 1889, it reads, "Owners of the Patent Hyde Wick Adjuster." Further, the trade card depicted above lists the wholesale dealers as both The Boston Lamp Company and The Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company. In this example, Israel C. Mayo is listed as the retail merchant for the burners incorporating this device. I have seen this identical trade card with at least a half-dozen other retail merchants listed.

P&A Burner
A Plume & Atwood Mfg. Co. burner
incorporating the Hyde Wick Adjuster
It is clear from the trade card as well as the burner shown here that The Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company manufactured lamp burners incorporating the Hyde patent. This lip burner is marked on the inner thumbwheel PATENTED JAN. 7, 1879 (Hyde's patent) and on the outer thumbwheel PAT. JAN. 16.83 & FEB. 11.73, both Lewis J. Atwood's patents assigned to Plume & Atwood. The Hyde Wick Adjuster was also used on Wallace & Son's Little Giant, and it is possible that other companies manufactured burners incorporating the Hyde Wick Adjuster as well.

MagnifyGeorge H. Hyde's Patent

To view Hyde's complete patent, click Query USPTO Database. This will take you to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database. You are then just two mouse clicks away from viewing the actual patent. Learn more about the USPTO here.

Patent Number  

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