Brass Oil Measure Cans used in Lighthouses, ca. 1800

Contributed by Museum at Portland Head


Brass oil cans were necessary in every lighthouse in the early days when whale oil and then kerosene were used to light the flame so the light could be seen out to sea. Most brass items were made by the lighthouse service but some were purchased from outside vendors which the lighthouse depot would affix a small tag to designate it as a lighthouse service item. All lighthouse service items were marked or stamped to designate they were for the service and were property of the government. These cans are marked with U.S. Light-House Establishment.

As oil was a precious commodity at the lighthouse, its use was carefully tracked by the station keeper who would then report his usage in reports to the district. Several oil measures were needed to keep track of what was poured into each lamp or can and therefore many different sizes exist.

View/Add Comments

About This Item

  • Title: Brass Oil Measure Cans used in Lighthouses, ca. 1800
  • Creator: U.S. Lighthouse Establishment
  • Creation Date: circa 1800
  • Subject Date: circa 1800
  • Location: Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: Brass
  • Object Type: Physical Object

Cross Reference Searches

Standardized Subject Headings

Other Keywords

For more information about this item, contact:

Museum at Portland Head
1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
(207) 799-2661

Use of this Item is not restricted by copyright and/or related rights, but the holding organization is contractually obligated to limit use. For more information, please contact the contributing organization. However, watermarked Maine Memory Network images may be used for educational purposes.

How to cite content on this site

Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please send us a message with this link.