This photo of an early "Punk Rack" is undated but you can tell it predates electricity by the beat up Pan Lamps attached high on the sides of the flimsy joint. They were called Pan Lamps because they resembled skillets and were the only source of luminescence on a midway until electric lights were invented. They worked on the same principal as a miner's carbide lamp. Water was stored in the tank or 'pan' at the top and flowed down through a long tube into the head. The drip was adjusted by a valve on the tube. It reacted with the calcium carbide to produce acetylene gas which in turn fueled a white hot flame.

 

International Independent Showmens Museum

 


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