Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Yes, Old timers have been using mineral spirits in lamps for well a 100 years and then somne, however if you ever watched the old westerns where the cowboy throws the lantern then it explodes setting the cabin on fire, THAT's MINERAL SPIRITS or as Ops posted coal oil. Yes, mineral spirits is better known as "Paint Thinner".
Its specific gravity is 80 or slightly under, so way less than kerosene or even liquid paraffin, its flash point is 110 degrees compared to 150 of kerosene and a good 15 degees below lantern manufacturer recommendations. and last but not least despite its smell is much better, it gives off way more actual noxious fumes.
I have many fuels I keep around for multiple jobs and tasks including mineral spirits, better known as paint thinner, but its not a first choice for a lantern and definitely not a heater. If I did use it or when I do, I do so outdoors only and where I hold liquid paraffin to a maximum 5/8ths flat wick, I hold mineral spirits to a maximum 1/2" flat wick. That's due to that lower specific gravity.
You have way more potential of fires or kabooms with mineral spirits. Because of that low flash point and specific gravity, you have way more fumes so more potential for kaboom especially if you don't vent well before lighting and knock the lamp/stove over burning your house down. Where a match will barely light kerosene, paint thinner is just a hair less volatile than gasoline. Though the smell is really low or even pleasant, if you have a breathing problem, you will be short of breath from the fumes in no time. The way it feels and leaves a taste over night reminds me of the old Coleman fuel heaters which were taken off the market for all the reasons I've posted in this post.
Yes when discussing alternate fuels, historically one should not leave mineral spirits out of the discussion but really its not the best choice especially from a safety standpoint.
If you bought some, I'd research the manufacturer rated specific gravity and flash point. Lower than 85 and flash point lower than 124, I'd set it back for emergency use only or outdoor use.
American Refining specifications
This gives a gravity of 50 to 52, but I am not sure its the same specification you are talking about.
it is interesting that Amish people have been using this for a long, long time with good results. Not saying you are wrong by any means. I just want to clearly understand the down side since the up side has been huge.
just to clear things up. This is very low odor mineral spirits. This is not the crap you buy at walmart to clean your paint brushes. Not even close in the odor.
Wikipedia has the flash point of kerosene at 100 to 150 degrees. Not sure why the huge variance.