22th June 2003 Volume 9, Issue 49
1998 Perera had seen on TV images of burnt victims where the accidents were
due to kerosene lamps toppling over, setting fire, destroying
property, as well as causing severe burn injuries to people.
the plight of these victims and their families gave Perera the motivation
and inspiration to invent a lamp that was affordable and safe for the poor.
to Odiris Perera it is not the kerosene that is dangerous but it is more the
flame that causes the damage.
a conventional lamp topples over and the kerosene spills there will be
danger only if the flame is still alight to spread on to the spilt kerosene.
with this new lamp, when it topples over, immediately the flame is put off.
Therefore even if the kerosene spills there will be no damage as there is no
flame to ignite the spilt kerosene.
to The Sunday Leader inventor Perera said "this lamp costs only Rs. 20
and it was not invented with the intention of selling it commercially.
It was made with the purpose of giving it to the poor"
Odiris Engineering Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., Ananda Sirisena said "we have shown
it at many exhibitions before but received no support for our efforts, but
now the Rotary Club is planning to buy some lamps and distribute them among
a lamp like this - even for Rs. 20 - is not an easy task to heavily burdened
poor folk whose lives are a constant struggle. These are people who find it
hard to buy even a piece of bread to eat," said Sirisena.
should ideally be done is organisations and NGOs or even individuals should
buy these lamps and distribute them amongst the poor.
For someone who can afford it it is not difficult to spend Rs. 20 for
one lamp and give it to the people who need it.
poor man will take an old bottle, some wire and cloth and make a lamp with
no concern for safety. By
giving even one lamp such as this to people, the accident risk is reduced
and it would be ideal if all the poor households' unsafe lamps were
exchanged for safe lamps."
than conventional lamps
explained how this lamp is far more effective than conventional kerosene
lamps that people use. "The technique adopted in the lamp is to douse
the flame immediately by using the force of gravity," he explained.
weight over an inbuilt spring varies at different angles. The greatest of
force is when the lamp is at 90 degrees. The moment this angle is achieved
the spring thrusts the weight along its axis.
wick is held in a cylinder fixed to the cap and a
flat disk is fitted to an outer cylinder.
spring is between the cap and the weight. When the lamp tilts 45 degrees the
outer cylinder travels over the inner cylinder past the edge of the burning
wick and puts off the flame instantly due to the spring action which cuts
off the oxygen supply to the flame.
discarded empty jam bottle with a metal cap, thin metal strips and a thick
piece of metal similar to the size and shape of a one rupee coin and some
soldering lead is all that goes into making
says that this lamp was made with practicality taken into consideration.
"Even if the this lamp breaks all that is needed is another empty jam bottle as it is made
from discarded jam bottles so the lid will fit another bottle," says
Perera also introduced the table top coconut scraper to Sri Lanka
in 1952. He claims this lamp is not commercially viable though he
spent a lot of time to make several models purely on grounds of sympathy
towards burn victims and their families.
end users of this
lamp however are not prepared
to pay any price for this lamp due to poverty and lack of concern for
However the problem of burn victims is a burden to society. Those concerned about the welfare of the poor can venture into manufacturing this lamp or buying and distributing it in order to popularise it among the poor and needy with a view to minimising fire hazards.
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