Sparking lamps are typically found with whale oil burners although there were burning fluid types too.
These lamps are small in size (usually 1-1/2″ to 4″ high) and have been called many names over the years such as Sparking, Toy, Chamber, Diminutive, and Miniature. The name miniature is deceiving because by definition a miniature is a small copy of reduced size. Most of these tiny lamps have a shape of their own and do not replicate the larger lamps. The picture to the left shows two tiny sparking lamps next to the more standard large and small size whale oil lamps.
Several stories adorn these lamps. Sparking lamps do not hold much oil and one story told is that they were used for courting. When the fuel would burn out the gentlemen would have to leave. Another story is that children used them, who long ago learned at an early age to respect the flame.