The Petromax light is very well known in Tamil Nadu for its reference in a dialogue by great comedy actor Goundamani. Petromax is a brand name, for paraffin lamps (paraffin also known as Kerosene in many parts of the world) that use a mantle.

Max Graetz was their main inventor of the Petromax light. He was seeking a solution for lighting when he stumbled upon this invention. Mr Max Graetz invented a process to make gas out of paraffin; it has a very high caloric value and could make a very hot blue flame. Around 1916 the lantern and its name started to travel around the world. The name Petromax derives from Petroleum and Max Graetz. It has been said that it was a nickname his friends loved to use as well. The design was such a success that it s still in used. The name Petromax has become synonymous for paraffin pressure lamps.

In many countries “Petromax” is a registered Trademark. The Petromax design was copied and the Indian version of it is called Prabhat. This light is still used on higher volumes for marriages in many Rural parts of India, and continues to serve many villages where power supply is still a remote possibility.


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