Skip to the content

A shipwrecked miner's lamp

This artifact of the week is no. S-1057, a safety lamp used specifically by miners. It is yet another example of the incredible variety of objects retrieved from shipwrecks in the Rangárvallasýsla and Skaftafellssýsla counties of south Iceland. This lamp came from a shipwreck near Meðalland, but it is not known exactly what shipwreck or what year. Árni Jónsson from Heiðarsel gifted the lamp to the museum.
The lamp bears the mark, “Hailwoods & Ackroyd Ltd. / Makers / Hailwoods Improved Lamp Type 01 A / Morley Leeds England.”
Hailwoods and Ackroyd were a company based near Leeds, England. They manufactured glassware of all kinds, including miners’ safety lamps. They traded under that name between 1927-1957, when the company was acquired by Hailwood Industries.
In the United Kingdom, coal mining became a huge industry with the Industrial Revolution. One of the many dangers to miners was firedamp, or combustible gas in the mines. It could explode if it came into contact with open flame. It became necessary to invent a lamp that prevented this from happening, and the first one was patented by Humphry Davy in 1815.
Lamps like these made it possible for miners to have enough light to work by without risking explosions. Over time the design was improved and it also became possible to use the safety lamps to measure just how much gas there was in the mine.

Guided tours

Guided tours are available upon reservation in English, German and Icelandic. Sometimes there is the opportunity to have guided tours in French, Spanish, Norwegian and Danish.

Tour times are from opening time up to 1 hour before closing time.

For group reservations and guided tours please email or call +354 487 8845.