Medieval Facts: Lighting, part one
Jill Williamson on January 19, 2010
So how did people see before electricity was invented?
I grew up in Alaska in a home without electricity. In the summer, it stayed light almost all night, but in the winter it was the opposite. We had oil lamps, lit with kerosene, that we used until my dad started running the generator every night. Dad never turned on the generator in the mornings while we got ready for school. So, each morning, mom woke me up with a flashlight and I got ready by the oil lamp. We also used some fat candles, but oil lamps were brighter. I also got ready in the kitchen and we didn’t have a bathroom anywhere near as modern as this, but…I’ll talk about outhouses another time. 🙂
When all you have to see with is a small area of light, you pretty much stay in one spot or carry it with you. An oil lamp gives off quite a bit of light, but if you wanted to read, eat, or see anything in detail, you have to sit up close to it.
A castle would be a dark place, even in daylight, since they had very few windows. Rooms were lit by candles, rushlights, standing lamps, hanging lamps, torches, or chandeliers. I’ve found some interesting facts in my research for my books. Over the next few days, I’ll talk about them.
See all the posts on Medieval Lighting here: