Introduction: Steampunk Lamp "The MERKER Light"

Three years ago now since my last INSTRUCTABLE, so it's time to do it again and today I would like to share a very special and unique project with you: "The Giant MERKER".

This huge lamp in Steampunk style is based on an antique petroleum cooker from MERKER, which was produced during 1897 in the small Swiss town Baden. I found this amazing piece at a flea market for just a few bucks. The mechanical parts were broken and not fixable, so I decided to use this treasure from a past time for this project.

If you know my Artwork you may remember, that I don't use heavy tools to build my gadgets. My talent is to bring things and parts together so that they fit perfectly, even they are not made to be used this way. So it's a kind of "puzzling". This INSTRUCTABLE should inspire you to work this special way. You may don't find exactly this cooker or exactly the brass rings and gears I used, but it gives you an idea how things can fit together without sawing, cutting, soldering and so on.

My Inspiration:
For the whole creation I had to drill only one small hole. All other works were done with simple "household" tools like a small screwdriver, a knife for the cables and a small cable cutter. I hope this simple tutorial will inspire you to create breathtaking gadgets, by using mainly your brain, instead of many tools...


For this lamp I used the following stuff:

  • an antique petroleum cooker from MERKER, built during 1897
  • a huge LED filament light bulb
  • a common light bulb socket, E27
  • a power cable with integrated switch, in my case for 220V
  • a "Touch Switch", which allows you to turn on the light with a simple touch of your fingertips to any metal part of the lamp
  • some cable ties
  • brass rings to mantle the bulb socket
  • an old machine bearing from the junk yard
  • some small items like a long screw with nut, a terminal strip, etc.

Step 1: The Light Bulb Socket

So let's start with the light bulb socket. Like all my heavy lamps this creation is also a combination of different parts which are NOT directly mounted together. The lamp will be built with the following single components:

  • the brass tank of the cooker
  • the black emailled body of the cooker
  • the light bulb socket with "Touch Switch", main switch and power cable
  • the LED filament light bulb

My light bulb socket is based on an old and heavy machine bearing from the junk yard. I choosed this piece because the light bulb socket I used fittet exactly into the center hole of the bearing. Finally I used a black bulb socket instead of the white one on the picture, because the fit was better.

CAUTION: Please don't forget that you work in this section with dangerous household currents. If you feel insecure to work with 110V/220V power cables, light sockets and switches please ask an expert or buy a ready made bulb socket with cable and switch. They are available in bigger household stores.

In a first step I connected the socket to a short piece of cable. Then I placed a long screw to the back of the socket. In a next step I slided in the two brass rings and finally the heavy bearing. All this parts I choosed because they fit together without any tools. Finally I used an old clock gear as a back plate, so that I coud screw together the whole arrangement with only one nut. Please refer to the pictures to see the details.

Step 2: The "Touch Switch" (optional)

Touch switches are always a great gadget for lamps. With this kind of switches you are able to turn on the lamp with only a touch of your fingertips to any metal part of the lamp.

I use this switches always in combination with a traditional "mechanical" switch. The reason is simple: A lamp with a "Touch Switch" is always on, even while the bulb is off. It works like the "Standby" of a TV, so there is always a power flow. That's why I always add an additinal switch to disconnect the lamp completely from the power.

The "Touch Switch" I used is from ALIEXPRESS and costs less than 2$.

The wiring depends on the switch you use. Please refer the describtion of your product. Usually there are 4 wires. One of the wires, in my case yellow, is used for the "Touch Function". The other three for the power cable and the light bulb socket (black is used as the base). Check out the video for details.

I mounted a small plug to the yellow "Touch Cable" and connected the other end of the cable with a small screw to the brass tank of the cooker.

Finally I packed the switch and the terminal strips into a small jute bag and fixed them with cable ties. The small jute bag was used the last 120 years to store the burner of the antique cooker...

Step 3: Build Up the Lamp - Piece by Piece

As I mentioned before this lamp is built up from this three main components:

  • the brass tank of the cooker
  • the black emailled body of the cooker
  • the light bulb socket with "Touch Switch", main switch and power cablethe LED filament light bulb

The emailled body of the cooker I kept how it was. There is a vertical tunnel in the center which allows to let pass the power cable with the plug and will hold later the "Touch Switch". There is a lot of space for that.

The only upgrade to the brass petroleum tank was the small drilled hole for the screw, which connects the "Touch Switch" with the yellow cable.

The third component is the bulb socket we built in the step before, connected to the "Touch Switch" and the power cable.

Time to build up the lamp now:

  • in a first step I moved in the powercable from the bulb socket into the tunnel of the black body
  • the bulb socket sits on the cooking grid now and doesn't move because of its weight
  • now the power cable moves thrue the center of the brass tank. This tank was built as a "Ring Tank", so there is also a tunnel in in the same diameter like in the emailled black body
  • in a last step I connected the yellow "Touch Cable" with the blue small plug to the brass tank and screwed on the huge light bulb

That's it! Now the lamp reached a high of 70cm and looks really unique!

I hope I could inspire you to create something like that, using your brain more than your tools.


Dan Aetherman aka The Chocolatist -

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