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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Petromax light ~ how many Crores ?? பெட்ரோமாக்ஸ் விளக்கேதான் வேணுமா ?!?!

The mantle is one of the three main layers of the Earth. It lies between the innermost layer, the core, and the thin outermost layer, the crust. The mantle consists of hot, dense, semisolid rock.  ‘Passing the mantle’ would mean an important role or responsibility passing from one person to another.  At a simpler level is the ‘gas mantle’ – a device for generating bright white light when heated by a flame. The name refers to its original heat source in gas lights which filled the streets in the late nineteenth century, mantle referring to the way it is hung above the flame. The mantle is a roughly pear-shaped ramie-based artificial silk or rayon fabric bag made from silk or fabric impregnated with rare-earth metallic salts that will convert to solid oxides after being heated in a flame. A mantle will glow brightly in the visible spectrum while emitting radiation. The mantle shrinks after all the fabric material has burnt away and becomes very fragile after this first use.

If you are still wondering still on what it is – remember the Vijayakanth, Revathi starrer ‘Vaidhegi Kaathirundhaal’ that hit the screens in 1984.  The film  directed by R. Sundarrajan was a hit liked for the comedy of Goundamani and Senthil.   Gaundamani as ‘All in all Azhaguraja’ was a small time mechanic supplying sundry items including petromax lights. As he explains how it provides light, Senthil would touch and spoil the mantle – meantime a rare customer would come asking for light – the dialogue ‘petromax lightethaan venduma’ ? [you require only petromax light] became much repeated one !!
all in all azhaguraja

Way back in 1866, master plumber Albert Graetz together with the distributor Emil Ehrich, founded the "Lampen-Fabrik Erich and Graetz OHG" (Erich and Graetz Lamp Factory, Unlimited), on Dresdener St. in Berlin. Albert Graetz felt compelled to end the "dark times" of what he referred to as "Rueboelfunzein" (vegetable oil lamps), through the introduction of improved lamp designs. Graetz then designed a pressure lamp, working with vaporized paraffin. Around the year 1916, the lantern and its name started to travel around the world.  The design was such a success that it still is being used to this day. The name Petromax has become synonymous with paraffin pressure lamps in many countries ~ it is actually a registered ‘trademark’ that was registered in Nov. 1920. Following Germany's surrender at the end of World War One, the company's foreign factories were lost, and the Ehrich and Graetz Company had to fight for economic survival.
Times of India of 10th Jan 2012 reported of the arrest of two men trying to sell a petromax light for Rs 2 crore, calling it a 400-year-old antique. K Anbalagan, 59, and R Palanisamy, 50, both hailing from Vridhachalam in Cuddalore district, claimed that the that the light was manufactured by the East India Company in 1600.

Anbalagan and Palanisamy were caught when they tried to sell the light to two policemen who posed as buyers. They claimed the light was made of an alloy of iridium that is used in the manufacture of satellites. They also said that the light had special powers and to prove their claim, they sprinkled some rice around it. When the grains of rice were drawn towards the light, the two men said their claim had been proved. However, the 'buyers' were not convinced and hauled Anbalagan and Palanisamy in. The scientific answer for the 'rice pulling' claim is that the grains, which have hydrocarbons, are drawn by the light. The gang members told police that the antique light had developed its rice-pulling power over the years.

They claimed that it was valued at more than 50 crore in the international market. Police are now checking with officials of the archaeology department and the forensic wing on the authenticity of the seized light. There are also doubts on whether it is a original manufactured by East India Company.

They are not alone, in May 2014, The Hindu had reported  of the arrest of 5 people in Kollam attempting to sell a petromax light. A year before there was another incident in Kumbakonam. At Kollam they had tried to sell the lamp for Rs.25 crore through a broker to a British national camping in Bangalore. The State police had received information that a Kollam-based racket dealing in such rice pullers were active in the State. There are some study reports which claim that metal wares with traces of iridium develop rice pulling power when hit by lightning. There are also some studies which show that the East India Company had minted coins and made other metal ware with traces of iridium in 1616 with the advice of some Indian sages to keep the inauspicious effects of a solar eclipse that year at bay. Their identities were given as Prince and Salim from Kollam and Jayaraj, Jose Jackson, and Senkuthavan from Tirunelveli.

Now tell – do you require a petromax light only ? பெட்ரோமாக்ஸ் விளக்கேதான் வேணுமா ?!?!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th Jan 2015.

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