This is a head lamp! As in the kind that is worn on one’s head(not the car kind), and it was mainly used by miners. So, essentially, it is a very old version of this:
|The long spike was jabbed into the wood of support beams or crevices in the wall. The hook is for hanging on a hat.|
Eventually, a new type of lamp, the carbide lamp, became more popular for the fact that it consumed less oxygen and provided cleaner, brighter light. These lamps had two chambers inside, one with water and the other filled with calcium carbide. When these substances mixed, they created a flammable gas which burned with a clean white flame. They usually looked like this:
|The reflective surface made the flame even more effective.|
Even carbide lamps were short-lived, since battery-powered, electric lamps soon became widespread, and were much safer (since there isn’t the nasty problem of having an open flame anymore). If you want to know more about mining lights and hats, here's a site all about them from the National Museum of American History.
Thanks again for your guesses! And as always, come visit us, check out our exhibits and take a look at the mystery artifacts if you do!