The pneumatic lamp presumably was used in the Ruhr-area coal mining industry as an underground source of light in the 1940s. Today it belongs to the LWL-Industrial Museum's collection and is used for demonstrational purposes in the visitors’ coal mine exhibit of the LWL-Industrial Museum Nightingale colliery.
A small turbine rotating under air pressure drives a generator which provides the electrical energy for the light.
In hard-coal mining, the lighting must be constructed in such a way so as not to ignite the explosive mix of air and mine gas (methane).
In this respect, the pneumatic lamp is particularly safe, because it only works if the glass cylinder shield is sealed. If the glass cylinder is damaged, the air pressure escapes and electricity cannot be generated.
The humming of the pneumatic lamp is the sound made by the air pressure supply and the rotation of the turbine.
Sound recordist: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai / Anna Pietzuch
Video recordist: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai / Anna Pietzuch
Photographer: Konrad Gutkowski / Jonathan Nicolai / Anna Pietzuch