What is Lamp Room Black?

Lamp Room Black is a deep, dark shade of black with a greenish hue. It was traditionally used in the coal mining industry to paint lamp rooms, where the miners would store their safety lamps. The colour provided a stark contrast to the bright flames of the lamps, making it easier for the miners to spot any leaks or issues with their equipment. However, Lamp Room Black also had a much darker purpose.

The Horrific History of Lamp Room Black

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, workers in the coal mining industry faced some of the most dangerous and grueling conditions imaginable. In many mines, workers were exposed to toxic gases that could cause lung disease, explosions that could kill dozens at a time, and coal dust that could clog their lungs and cause suffocation.

To prevent some of these hazards, mining companies began using Lamp Room Black as a sealant for underground mine walls. The idea was that the black paint would absorb some of the toxic gases and prevent them from spreading through the mine. However, this practice had a terrible unintended consequence. Workers who applied the paint were often exposed to toxic fumes, and the paint itself contained high levels of lead.

Studies later revealed that workers exposed to lead-based paint suffered from a wide range of health problems, including fatigue, nausea, and headaches. In some cases, prolonged exposure could cause irreversible damage to the nervous system and even death.

The Legacy of Lamp Room Black Today

Although the use of Lamp Room Black in the mining industry is largely a thing of the past, its legacy is still felt in communities where mines once operated. Many former mining towns have high rates of cancer and other illnesses believed to be caused by toxic exposure. Additionally, the history of Lamp Room Black serves as a reminder of how dangerous and exploitative working conditions can be when left unchecked.

Today, Lamp Room Black is sometimes used in art and design as an homage to its unique, haunting shade. However, it is important to remember the darker history behind this colour and the many workers who suffered and died as a result of its use.