It was while filming the Beach Fishing for Whitingfilm that I discovered a very simple problem that can be easily alleviated. I have one of the original ANCHOR paraffin pressure lamps. I think it is the 350cp model, not the 500, which was the more popular of its time. They were made in China, highly efficient, but need looking after.

I would suggest that it may be in the region of 25 years old, so pretty soon you may see it on the Antiques Roadshow being cherished by some presenter. Like all pressure lanterns of the time it was a constant problem damaging the fragile mantle. I had spares. But when I fired it up in the garage a couple of months ago for a test I noticed the hair-like needle at the top of the jet outlet, was small, and slightly kinked. I simply straightened it between nails and assumed it had just burnt a bit shorter. Now the object was not so much to see any Whiting bites on the rod top at night, but to light up the surrounding beach to see if the Sony video would be up to filming in that sort of light. I had the small head torch, but you need a whack load of li8ht to get anything on film. A problem we had found while trying to film bass and conger at night off Bracklesham bay.Annoying, as we had conger to 30lbs and bass to 9lbs.

Anyway, it starts to get dark so I try firing up the Anchor, knowing it had worked the previous evening on a test run. I don’t use the power jetting tube as that seems frozen, but preheat the pipe with methylated spirits in the metal bowl and pipe it comes with. Only takes a few minutes longer than jetting, and saves on paraffin. No joy!! Fortunately I had a backup of a million candlepower rechargeable torch, but although bright, it fades out in just a few minutes. I really need the constant light of the Anchor pressure lamp. So it was back onto the garage bench with it the following evening, and an official autopsy. Immediately I could see the needle would not raise or lower through the jet hole, and removal of the nut housing saw the needle had been buckled over as it was too short. New needle required, which fortunately I had. However it was still only just clear of the tip when I put the nut back on.I took the whole rig apart, and it was then that I found a tiny nut that acts as an adjustor on the base of the tube that holds the needle. Just go the opposite end. Presumably in the control housing is a rotating cam that pushes the needle up through the jet pinhole. By undoing that base nut a few turns I felt it would push the needle right out the end of the jet nut.

But I also noticed the same tube was coated with carbon residue, I guess from the heat, and that constricted the flow of fuel to the jet. Using wet and dry fine paper I cleaned it all off, and then did the same inside the jet tube by rolling a few turns of the wet and dry around a tiny artists paintbrush handle. The unit was reassembled, repressured, and the meths bowl filled and lit. After a few minutes I heard the popping sound it makes before firing up, and as the burning meths had already burnt off the new silk mantle I had fitted, everything suddenly burst into light as I turned the control knob. Turn it too fast and the paraffin rushes in, fails to vaporise, floods and then you get some larger, rather disconcerting flames flooding out the mantle. Close down immediately, and let it die down. If the meths bowl is almost empty when this happens, you might have to go for a refill, and ignite again. Make sure you let it all cool down. As it was, my rejuvenated Anchor lamp is screaming out 350 candlepower, sending a flood of light all around. So with another beach film at night scheduled I should be able to bring you a better clarity picture, and actually see what I’m doing. The following pics might be a help to you. Good luck, and “Let there be light!”…..