The Romans and other ancients regularly burned olive oil in their lamps, so, the concept is sound. Pure olive oil will not produce smoke, while other types of vegetable oils may produce some residual smoke while burning.
For those who are curious, the cost of burning olive oil in this lamp will depend on wick size (flame size and corresponding oil consumption), while my own experiment consumed 2 ounces (1/8 cup) of olive oil in 5 hours. This calculates out to about 10-cents per hour depending on how cheap you can find pure olive oil. An ordinary Votive candle may cost about 3 to 5-cents per hour to burn, although probably not as bright as the oil lamp.
For more tips, emergency preparedness ideas, topics of risk and situational awareness for disaster or threats thereof, visit Modern Survival Blog
Step 1: Olive Oil Lamp Parts
The wick shown in this photo is a typical kerosene lamp wick. Using a scissors, I cut the wick in half (length wise) so it wouldn’t be as fat as what is shown in the photo. You can use an ordinary candle wick.
TIP: A coat hanger is somewhat difficult to work and bend into a coil, while an easier approach is to use #12 gauge bare copper 'ground' wire, available at most hardware and 'big box' stores. It's softer and easier to work with.