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Davy's miners' safety lamp. Illustration of Sir Humphry Davy's miners' safety lamp. The safety lamp evolved from a need to prevent the numerous fatal coal mining accidents of the late eighteenth century. These were caused by explosions of methane/air mixtures ignited by the flames of miners' candles. Davy's design was a simple oil burner (centre) enclosed in a copper gauze cylinder (at right). The heat of the flame was effectively contained by conduction through the wires of the gauze. The temperature of the gauze never rose to the ignition point of the methane/air mixture. Illustration taken from Sir Humphry Davy's collected works of 1839-1840.
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