100 Years High-Pressure Lamp Petromax HK500

Image: Petromax Retailer Catalogue Germany 1939 -1941
Image: Berlin – Brandenburg Science Record Archive Society (Berlin-Brandenburgisches Wirtschaftsarchiv e.V.); Petromax brochure with “Rapid Igniter” and User Manual (ca. 1939); U3/7,1109/2a

The High-Pressure Lamp celebrates 100th anniversary

For 100 years the Petromax High Pressure Lamp illuminates darkness. Until today, with the technical performance genius from German manufacture a strong light still shines for people all over the world – in almost unaltered construction. Its sustainable and innovative approach is also the foundation of the Petromax brand. Therefore, this year we particularly recognize the High-Pressure Lamp with historic character and take you back to the roots of Petromax.

1. Petromax Retailer Catalogue Germany 1939 -1941
2. Berlin – Brandenburg Science Record Archive Society (Berlin-Brandenburgisches Wirtschaftsarchiv e.V.); Petromax brochure with “Rapid Igniter” and User Manual (ca. 1939); U3/7,1109/2a

Journey through time: The historical basis of the High-Pressure Lamp

In the beginning of the 20th century Max Graetz developed a petroleum lamp with an especially strong light. The engineer from Berlin (Germany) thus revolutionized autarkic light supply and all of a sudden improved quality of life for many people of his time. Knowing that he brought reliable and fail-safe light into any household he secured the rights to the name Petromax – inspired by his nickname “Petroleum Maxe.” The patent registry of a transportable version of the High-Pressure Light in April 1921 laid the foundation for today’s famous HK500. Just as 100 years ago the HK500 results from manufacture “Made in Germany” and convinces by its proven principle, its durable technology and its resilient construction.

Tradition experiences fresh impetus: Petromax is born a second time 


80 years later one young university student Jonas Taureck encounters the impressive iconic lamp while looking for a suitable source of energy for his beloved vehicle that got stuck in desert sand. Equipped with sufficient tinned provisions he is on his way to South Africa. Once again, his heavy vehicle got stuck and a broken alternator is the result. With many gestures he tries to explain to the inhabitants of the small village in Niger that he wants to use their electricity to charge the truck batteries. However, he always receives the same answer: Here is no electricity. Impossible, Jonas thinks by himself, because even at night the village shines as bright as day. The impressive light source is a HK500. Fascination and passion impel Jonas to resume production of the High-Pressure Lamp. He acquires the rights to the brand and revives the traditional brand. Petromax is born a second time.

Read here the whole story about Jonas Taureck’s adventure in the desert.

100 years High-Pressure Lamp – 100 years of knowledge

The HK500 stands for German engineering skill and a part of history. Until today the construction of the Petromax classic, consisting of 200 individual pieces, remains technically unaltered. Customers from all over the world purchase the lamp that originates from in-house manufacture at Magdeburg headquarters.

The light source that already offered life-changing opportunities to people in the 1920th, today has become an indispensable component for all daring outdoor adventurers looking for a resilient equipment and independent light source.

Petromax since 1910

The principle of the High-Pressure Lamp with petroleum carburetor system developed in 1910 and the production of a portable version in 1921 are the origin of reliable equipment with the notion towards independence. Until today, the demand for sturdiness and durability is an integral part in development of new Petromax products. Regarding the topics outdoor cooking, fire and bushcraft and survival the product range has grown during the past years and emphasizes highest quality. The traditional character shapes the mission statement of Petromax Inc.. We, therefore, look back upon 111 years Petromax.


Image: Exerpt from newspaper article 1922

Image: Exerpt from newspaper article 1922

For us, the 100th birthday of the High-Pressure Lamp and Petromax since 1910 both are special occasions that we would like to share with you.