Gas Mantle Lanterns vs. Open Flame Gas Lamps

Exploring the differences between gas mantle and open flame gas illumination technology. Updated on 4/19/2024

Deciding on Gas Mantle Lanterns vs. Flame Lamps | AGLW

Congratulations! You’ve decided to decorate your home or outdoor living space with gas lighting. One of the first steps in customizing your gas fixture is to determine whether your lamps will be illuminated by gas mantle burners or open flame burners.

But what’s the difference?

Table of Contents

About Gas Mantle Lantern Fixtures

Traditional gas mantle lanterns use incandescent gas mantles, or Welsbach mantles, to generate a bright, solid white light when heated by gas flame. When lit, gas mantle lanterns yield a soft, romantic light and can be used in place of electric light bulbs.

The primary purpose of gas mantles is to provide light when gas is preferred, or electric is not available, to fuel exterior lights.

Gas mantle lantern fixtures are available in single, dual, triple, or quad configuration, depending on the model lamp they are being housed in. When lit, each gas mantle is equivalent to approximately 50 watts of incandescent light. Therefore, a single mantle burner will provide ~50 watts of incandescent light; a dual ~100 watts of incandescent light; a triple ~150 watts of incandescent light; and a quad ~200 watts of incandescent light. Gas mantles are durable but become very fragile once lit, so any gas mantle lanterns are intended to remain on and undisturbed 24 hours per day.

For some additional technical and historical context on gas mantle lanterns, please click here

About Open Flame Gas Lamps

Conversely, open flame gas lamps infuse outdoor settings with the warm, flickering light of an open flame. Imagine a soft candle burning inside a gas lamp fixture. Rather than providing a solid, steady light, the primary purpose of open flame burners is to provide dramatic ambiance to entrances, walkways, gardens, and entertainment spaces. While the light emitted from open flames is not as bright as gas mantles, they provide unique character and historical charm to almost any outdoor setting.

Open flame burners are available in two different configurations: Straight Flame and Maple Leaf Flame. A Straight Flame simply generates a single, vertical stream of fire, while a Maple Leaf Flame fans out into the shape of a maple leaf, displaying three distinct points.

The size and shape of each flame can be somewhat controlled by adjusting the gas valve of the lamp, located in the collar of each fixture, directly below the lantern. While open flame burners are also intended to remain on 24 hours per day, they can be turned off and manually relit by applying direct flame to the burner tip inside the fixture.

AGLW gas mantle burners may be fueled by Natural Gas or Liquid Propane, while open flame burners may only be fueled by Natural Gas. The BTUs of gas mantle burners range from 2,200–4,400, depending on the configuration selected, while the BTUs of open flame burners range from 2,800–3,100.

For more information about the advantages of gas illumination technology, maintenance, and operating statistics, please visit the Gas Mantle and Open Flame Illumination information pages of our website.

Our Sales team is also available to answer your questions about gas lighting. Contact us today!

Patrick Jardini, President - American Gas Lamp Works

Author: Patrick Jardini, President​

Patrick Jardini is the President of American Gas Lamp Works, a manufacturer and distributor of gas and electric lighting, outdoor heaters, and custom fire bowls. Since purchasing the business, Mr. Jardini has focused on expanding both products and brand awareness through direct sales and strategic partnerships with gas utility providers. Patrick is a Pittsburgh native, Air Force veteran, and MBA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, and has a professional background in metals production, sales, and marketing.

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