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Kerosene lamp


A hydrocarbon distillate of Petroleum or shale oil collected from the boiling range of 180-300C. First distilled in the 1840s, kerosene is composed primarily of aliphatic hydrocarbons ranging from C10 to C16. The name was registered as a trademark in Canada in 1854, but has since evolved into general usage. Kerosene is a clear, oily, odorous liquid that has been used as diesel fuel, jet engine fuel (#1 fuel oil), heating oil (#2 fuel oil), lamp oil, degreaser, cleaning solvent, and as an ineffective thinner for oil paints. It is also used in space heaters, cook stoves, and water heaters. Refined and deodorized kerosene was formerly used as a carrier for some insecticides.

Synonyms and Related Terms

kerosine; paraffin oil (Br.); coal oil; #1 fuel oil; jet fuel; #2 fuel oil; diesel fuel; range oil; stove oil; kerosin (Dan.); Kerosin (Deut.); queroseno (Esp.); kérosène (Fr.); cherosene (It.); kerosine (Ned.); Parafin (Nor.); nafta (Pol.); querosene (Port.); fotogen (Sven.)


  • Flammable. Flash point = 38C (100F).
  • Contact causes skin irritation.
  • Toxic by inhalation and ingestion.
  • Sinclair Oil: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible with other petroleum solvents. Insoluble in water.

CAS 8008-20-6
Density 0.81 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = about 170
Boiling Point 175-325 C

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993 Comment: range=180-300C
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing) Comment: range=175 to 325C
  • M. Doerner, The Materials of the Artist, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1934 Comment: range=180-270C
  • Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983 Comment: range=180-285C
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • CoOL listserve 15Feb2001 Robert Faltermeier '..I came across a protective treatment for archaeological iron. It involves the prolonged immersion of iron into Kerosene. the iron is then coated with Paraloid B-72..'