Gas lighting

Gas lighting did have some disadvantages. Several hundred theatres are said to have burned down in America and Europe between 1800 and the introduction of electricity in the late 1800s. The increased heat was objectionable, and the border lights and wing lights had to be lighted by a long stick with a flaming wad of cotton at the end. For many years, an attendant or gas boy moved along the long row of jets, lighting them individually while gas was escaping from the whole row. Both actors and audiences complained of the escaping gas, and explosions sometimes resulted from its accumulation.[23]

See also:History of manufactured gas

The largest gas lighting network in the world is that ofBerlin. With about 37,000 lamps (2014),[34]it holds more than half of all working gas street lamps in the world. In centralLondonaround 1500 gas lamps still operate,[13]lighting theRoyal Parks, the exterior ofBuckingham Palaceand almost the entireCovent Gardenarea.The Park EstateinNottinghamretains much of its original character, including the original gas lighting network.

Josiah Pemberton, an inventor, had for some time been experimenting on the nature of gas. A resident ofBirmingham, his attention may have been roused by the exhibition at Soho. About 1806, he exhibited gas-lights in a variety of forms and with great brilliance at the front of his manufactory in Birmingham. In 1808 he constructed an apparatus, applicable to several uses, forBenjamin Cooke, a manufacturer ofbrasstubes,gilttoys, and other articles.

Early lighting fuels consisted ofolive oilbeeswaxfish oilwhale oilsesame oil, nut oil, and similar substances. These were the most commonly used fuels until the late 18th century. Chinese records dating back 1,700 years note the use of natural gas in the home for light and heat viabamboopipes to the dwellings.[1]The ancient Chinese of the Spring and Autumn period made the first practical use of natural gas for lighting purposes around 500 B.C. where they used bamboo pipelines to transport and carry both brine and natural gas for many miles.[2][3][4][5][6]

In 1891 thegas mantlewas invented by theAustrianchemistCarl Auer von Welsbach. This eliminated the need for special illuminating gas a synthetic mixture ofhydrogenandhydrocarbongases produced bydestructive distillationofbituminous coalorpeat, to get bright shining flames.Acetylenewas also used from about 1898 for gas lighting on a smaller scale.[18]

As artificial lighting became more common, desire grew for it to become readily available to the public. This was in part because towns became much safer places to travel around after gas lamps were installed in the streets, reducing crime rates.[citation needed]In 1809, accordingly, the first application was made to Parliament to incorporate a company in order to accelerate the process, but failed to pass. In 1810, however, the application was renewed by the same parties, and though some opposition was encountered and considerable expense incurred, the bill passed, but not without great alterations; and the London and Westminster Chartered Gas-Light and Coke Company was established. By 1816, Samuel Clegg obtained the patent for his horizontal rotativeretort, his apparatus for purifying coal-gas withcream of lime, and for his rotativegas meterand self-actinggovernor.

Many gas utility companies will still quote a fixed periodic rate for a customer-maintained gas lamp, and some homeowners still use such devices. However, the high cost of natural gas lighting[35]at least partly explains why a large number of older gas lamps have been converted to electricity. Solar-rechargeable battery-powered gas light controllers can be easily retrofitted into existing gas lamps to keep the lights off during daylight hours and cut energy consumption and green-house gas carbon emissions by 50%.

Gaslamp and Gas light redirect here. For the psychological manipulation technique, seeGaslighting. For other uses, seeGaslamp (disambiguation)andGaslight (disambiguation).

Satirical cartoon showing dangers of early gaslighting (London, 1813)

Although the history is uncertain,David Melvillehas been credited[9][10][11][12]with the first house and street lighting in the United States, in either 1805 or 1806 inNewport, Rhode Island. The first well-recorded public street lighting with gas was demonstrated inPall Mall, London, on January 28, 1807, byFrederick Albert Winsor.[13]In 1812,Parliamentgranted a charter to the London and WestminsterGas Light and Coke Company, and the first gas company in the world came into being. Less than two years later, on December 31, 1813, theWestminster Bridgewas lit by gas.[14]

In 1801, Phillipe Lebon ofParishad also used gas lights to illuminate his house and gardens, and was considering how to light all of Paris. In 1820, Paris adopted gas street lighting.

New fixtures are still made and available forpropane(sometimes called

In theUnited States, more than 2800 gas lights inBostonoperate in thehistoric districtsofBeacon HillBack BayBay VillageCharlestown, and parts of other neighborhoods. InCincinnatiOhio, more than1100 gas lightsoperate in areas that have been named historic districts. Gas lights also operate in parts of the famedFrench Quarterand outside historic homes throughout the city inNew Orleans.

The development of newalternating currentpower transmission systems in the 1880s and 90s by companies such asGanzandAEGin Europe andWestinghouse ElectricandThomson-Houstonin the US solved the voltage and distance problem by using hightransmission linevoltages, andtransformersto drop the voltage for distribution for indoor lighting. Alternating current technology overcame many of the limitations of direct current, enabling the rapid growth of reliable, low-costelectrical powernetworks which finally spelled the end of widespread usage of gas lighting.[32]

Over the next 10 years, their numbers almost quadrupled, to reach 800. By the middle of the 19th century, the central streets and buildings of the capital were illuminated: thePalace Square, Bolshaya and Malaya Morskaya streets,Nevskyand Tsarskoselsky Avenues,PassageArcade, Noblemens Assembly, theTechnical InstituteandPeter and Paul Fortress.[17]

Stephen Haleswas the first person who procured a flammable fluid from the actual distillation of coal. His experiments with this object are related in the first volume of hisVegetable Statics, published in 1726. From the distillation of one hundred and fifty-eightgrains[10.2 g] of Newcastle coal, he states that he obtained one hundred and eighty cubic inches [2.9 L] of air, which weighed fifty-one grains [3.3 g], being nearly one third of the whole. These results seemed to have passed without notice for several years.

Public illumination preceded the discovery and adoption of gaslight by centuries. In 1417, SirHenry BartonLord Mayor of London, ordained lanterns with lights to be hung out on the winter evenings betweenHallowtideandCandlemassePariswas first lit by an order issued in 1524, and, in the beginning of the 16th century, the inhabitants were ordered to keep lights burning in the windows of all houses that faced the streets. In 1668, when some regulations were made for improving the streets of London, the residents were reminded to hang out theirlanternsat the usual time, and, in 1690, an order was issued to hang out a light, or lamp, every night as soon as it was dark, fromMichaelmastoChristmas. By an Act of theCommon Councilin 1716, all housekeepers, whose houses faced any street, lane, or passage, were required to hang out, every dark night, one or more lights, to burn from six to eleven oclock, under the penalty of oneshillingas a fine for failing to do so.

In the 20th century, most cities with gas streetlights replaced them with new electric streetlights. For example, Baltimore, the first US city to install gas streetlights, removed nearly all of them.[33]A sole, token gas lamp is located at N. Holliday Street and E. Baltimore Street as a monument to the first gas lamp in America, erected at that location.

John Clayton, in an extract from a letter in thePhilosophical Transactionsfor 1735, calls gas the spirit of coal and discovered its flammability by an accident. This spirit happened to catch fire, by coming in contact with a candle as it escaped from a fracture in one of his distillatory vessels. By preserving the gas in bladders, he entertained his friends, by exhibiting its flammability.

In February 1835, the Company for Gas Lighting St. Petersburg was founded; towards the end of that year, a factory for the production of lighting gas was constructed near theObvodny Canal, using pit coal brought in by ship fromCardiff; and, on September 27, 1839, 204 gas lamps were ceremonially lit in St. Petersburg.

Theatres were switching over to gas lighting not just because it was more economical than using candles but also required less labor to operate. With gas lighting, theatres would no longer need to have people tending to candles during a performance, or having to light each candle individually. It was easier to light a row of gas jets than a greater quantity of candles high in the air.[24]Theatres also no longer needed to worry about wax dripping on the actors during a show.

The use of natural gas (methane) forindoorlighting is nearly extinct. Besides producing a lot of heat, the combustion of methane tends to release significant amounts ofcarbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas which is more readily absorbed by the blood thanoxygen, and can be deadly. Historically, the use of lamps of all types was of shorter duration than we are accustomed to with electric lights, and in the far more draughty buildings, it was of less concern and danger. There are no suppliers of new mantle gas lamps set up for use with natural gas; however, some old homes still have fixtures installed, and some period restorations have salvaged fixtures installed, more for decoration than use.

By 1823, numerous towns and cities throughout Britain were lit by gas. Gaslight cost up to 75% less thanoil lampsor candles, which helped to accelerate its development and deployment. By 1859, gas lighting was to be found all over Britain and about a thousandgas workshad sprung up to meet the demand for the new fuel. The brighter lighting which gas provided allowed people to read more easily and for longer. This helped to stimulate literacy and learning, speeding up the secondIndustrial Revolution.

Baltimore first U.S. street gas light

Instruments that were used to light the stage during the nineteenth century fell under different classifications. Footlights, border lights, groundrows, lengths, bunch lights, conical reflector floods, and limelight spots were mainly used during this period. These mechanisms sat directly on the stage blinding the eyesight of the audience. Footlights caused the actors costumes to catch fire if they got too close to the lights. These lights also caused bothersome heat that affected both audience members and actors. Again, the actors had to adapt to these changes. They started fireproofing their costumes and placing wire mesh in front of the footlights.

Main article:History of manufactured gas

Among the economic impacts of gas lighting was much longer work hours in factories. This was particularly important in Great Britain during the winter months when nights are significantly longer. Factories could even work continuously over 24 hours, resulting in increased production. Following successful commercialization, gas lighting spread to other countries.

This article includes alist of references, but

The best thing that happened due to this change was the respect from the audience. There was no more shouting or riots. The light pushed the actors more up stage behind the proscenium helping the audience concentrate more on the action that was taking place on stage rather than what was going on in the house. Management had more authority on what went on during the show because they could see.[27]Gaslight was the leading cause of behavior change in theaters. It was no longer a place for mingling and orange selling; it was now a place of respected entertainment.

It took many years of development and testing before gas lighting for the stage would be commercially available for use in theatres. Gas technology would then be installed in just about every major theatre in the world. However, lighting with means of gas would be short lived because the invention of the electric light bulb would be soon to follow.

The history of the Russian gas industry began with retired Lieutenant Pyotr Sobolevsky (17821841), who improvedPhilippe le Bons design for a thermolamp and presented it to EmperorAlexander Iin 1811; in January 1812, Sobolevsky was instructed to draw up a plan for gas street-lighting for St. Petersburg. TheFrench invasion of Russiadelayed implementation, but St. Petersburgs Governor GeneralMikhail Miloradovich, who had seen the gas lighting of Vienna, Paris and other European cities, initiated experimental work on gas lighting for the capital, using British apparatus for obtaining gas from pit coal, and by the autumn of 1819, Russias first gas street light was lit on one of the streets onAptekarsky Island.[16]

By the 1850s, gas lighting in theatres had spread practically all over the United States and Europe. Some of the largest installations of gas lighting would be in large auditoriums, like theTheatre de Chatelet, built in 1862.[25]In 1875, the newParis Operawas constructed. Its lighting system contained more than twenty-eight miles [45km] of gas piping, and its gas table had no fewer than eighty-eight stopcocks, which controlled nine hundred and sixty gas jets.[26]The theatre that used the most gas lighting was the Astleys Equestrian Amphitheatre in London. According to the Illustrated London News Everywhere white and gold meets the eye, and about 200,000 gas jets add to the glittering effect of the auditorium such a blaze of light and splendour has scarcely ever been witnessed, even in dreams.[25]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Illuminating gas was used for gas lighting, as it produces a much brighter light thannatural gasorwater gas. Illuminating gas was much less toxic than other forms of coal-gas, but less could be produced from a given quantity of coal. The experiments with distilling coal were described by John Clayton in 1684. George Dixons pilot plant exploded in 1760, setting back the production of illuminating gas a few years. The first commercial application was in ain 1806. In 1901, studies of thedefolianteffect of leakinggas pipesled to the discovery that ethylene is aplant hormone.

There were six types of burners but four burners were really experimented with. The first burner used with this system was the single-jet burner that produced a small flame. The tip of the burner was made out of lead which absorbed heat causing the flame to be smaller in size. It was discovered that the flame would burn brighter if straight metal was mixed with other components, such as porcelain. Flat burners were invented mainly to evenly distribute gas and light to the systems. The fishtail burner is a relative to the flat burner but it managed to create a brighter flame and conducted less heat. The last burner that was experimented with was theWelsbach burner. Around this time theBunsen burnerwas in use along with some forms of electricity. The Welsbach was based on the idea of the Bunsen burner, still using gas, a cotton mesh withceriumandthoriumwas imbedded into the Welsbach. This source of light was named the gas mantle which created three times more light than the naked flame.[28]

Gas lightingis production of artificial light fromcombustionof a ga搜索引擎优化us fuel, such ashydrogenmethanecarbon monoxidepropanebutaneacetyleneethylene, ornatural gas.

Incoal mining, accumulating and escaping gases were known originally for their adverse effects rather than their useful alminers described two types of gases, one called thechoke dampand the otherfire damp. In 1667, a paper detailing the effects of these gases was entitled, A Description of a Well and Earth in Lancashire taking Fire, by a Candle approaching to it. Imparted by Thomas Shirley, Esq an eye-witness.

The principal properties of coal-gas were demonstrated to different members of theRoyal Society, and showed that after keeping the gas some time, it still retained its flammability. The scientists of the time still saw no useful purpose for it.

William Murdoch(sometimes spelled Murdock) was the first to exploit the flammability of gas for the practical application of lighting. He worked forMatthew BoultonandJames Wattat theirworks inBirmingham, England. In the early 1790s, while overseeing the use of his companys steam engines in tin mining in Cornwall, Murdoch began experimenting with various types of gas, finally settling on coal-gas as the most effective. He first lit his own house inRedruthCornwallin 1792.[7]In 1798, he used gas to light the main building of the Soho Foundry and in 1802 lit the outside in a public display of gas lighting, the lights astonishing the local population. One of the employees at the Soho Foundry,Samuel Clegg, saw the potential of this new form of lighting. Clegg left his job to set up his own gas lighting business, the Gas Lighting andCokeCompany.

Gaslit outdoors fountain atGrand Army PlazaBrooklyn, New York, 18731897)

Passersby marvel at new gaslighting (London, 1809)

In 1804, Dr. Henry delivered a course of lectures onchemistry, atManchester, in which he showed the mode of producing gas from coal, and the facility and advantage of its use. Dr. Henry analyzed the composition and investigated the properties of carburetted hydrogen gas. His experiments were numerous and accurate and made upon a variety of substances; having obtained the gas from wood,peat, different kinds of coal, oil, wax, &c. he quantified the intensity of the light from each source.

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In the early 20th century, most cities in North America and Europe had gaslit streets. However, around 1880 gas lighting for streets began giving way to high voltage (30006000 volt)direct currentandsystems. This time period also saw the development of the first electric power utility designed for indoor use. The new system by inventorThomas Edisonwas designed to function similar to gas lighting. For reasons of safety and simplicity it useddirect current(DC) at a relatively low 110 volts to lightincandescent light bulbs. Voltage in wires steadily declines as distance increases, and at this low voltage power plants needed to be within about 1 mile (1.6km) of the lamps. Thisvoltage dropproblem made DC distribution relatively expensive and gas lighting retained widespread usage[32]with new buildings sometimes constructed with dual systems of gas piping and electrical wiring connected to each room, to diversify the power sources for lighting.

In thePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Societyin 1733, some properties ofcoal-gasare detailed in a paper called, An Account of the Damp Air in a Coal-pit ofSir James Lowther, sunk within Twenty Yards of the Sea. This paper contained some striking facts relating to the flammability and other properties of coal-gas.

Beforeelectricitybecame sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most popular method of outdoor and indoor lighting incitiesandsuburbs. Early gas lights were ignited manually, but many later designs are self-igniting.

At this period the principal difficulty in gas manufacture was purification. Mr. D. Wilson, of Dublin,patenteda method for purifying coal-gas by means of the chemical action ofammoniacalgas. Another plan was devised by Mr. Reuben Phillips, ofExeter, who patented the purification of coal-gas by the use of drylime. Mr. G. Holworthy, in 1818, patented a method of purifying it by causing the gas, in a highly condensed state, to pass through iron retorts heated to a dark red.

In England, the first place outside London to have gas lighting wasPreston, Lancashire, in 1816; this was due to the Preston Gaslight Company run by revolutionaryJoseph Dunn, who found the most improved way of brighter gas lighting. The parish church there was the first religious building to be lit by gas lighting.[15]

In 1808, Murdoch presented tothe Royal Societya paper entitled Account of the Application of Gas from Coal to Economical Purposes wherein he described his successful application of coal-gas to lighting the extensive establishment of Messrs. Phillips and Lea. For this paper he was awarded Count Rumfords gold medal.[8]Murdochs statements threw great light on the comparative advantage of gas and candles and contained much useful information on the expenses of production and management.

In America,Seth Bemislit his factory with gas illumination from 1812 to 1813. The use of gas lights inRembrandt Peales Museum inBaltimorein 1816 was a great success. Baltimore was the first American city with gas streetlights; Peales Gas Light Company of Baltimore on February 7, 1817 lit its first street lamp at Market and Lemon Streets (currently Baltimore and Holliday Streets). The first private residence in the US illuminated by gas has been variously identified as that ofDavid Melville(c. 1806), as described above, or of William Henry, acoppersmith, at 200 Lombard Street,PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, in 1816.

Church interior with gas torchieres (Reading, England, c. 1875)

A thermolampe usinggas distilled from woodwas patented in 1799, whilst German inventor Friedrich Winzer (Frederick Albert Winsor) was the first person to patent coal-gas lighting in 1804.

Gas lighting also had an effect on the actors. The actors now could use less make-up and their motions did not have to be as exaggerated. The reasoning for this was because the stage was now brighter than it had ever been before. What had once been on half-lit stages was now on in fully lit stages. Production companies were so impressed with the new technology that some would go as far to say, This light is perfect for the stage. One can obtain gradation of brightness that is really magical.[24]

Border lights, also known as striplights, were a row of lights that hung horizontally in the flies. Color was added later by dying cotton, wool, and silk cloth. Lengths were constructed the same way as the border light, only these lights were mounted vertically in the rear where the wings were. Bunch lights are a cluster of burners that sat on a vertical base that was fueled directly from the gas line. The conical reflector can be related toFresnelsthat are currently used today. This adjustable box of light reflected a beam in which the size could be altered by a barndoor. Limelight spots are similar to todays current spotlighting system. This instrument was used in scene shops, as well as the stage.[29]

In the 19th century, gas stage lighting would go from a crude experiment to the most popular way of lighting theatrical stages. In 1804, Frederick Albert Winsor, a German, first demonstrated the way to use gas to light the stage in London at theLyceum Theatre. Although the demonstration and all the lead research were being done in London, in 1816 at the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia was the earliest gas lit theatre in world.[22]In 1817 the Lyceum,Drury Lane, and Covent Garden theatres were all lit by gas. Gas would be brought into the building by Miles of rubber tubing from outlets in the floor called water joints carried the gas to border-lights and wing lights. But before it was distributed, the gas came through a central distribution point called a gas table.[23]The gas table was how the brightness could be varied by regulating the gas supply, and the gas table, which allowed control of separate parts of the stage, became the first stage switchboard.[24]

Gas lighting today is generally used forcamping, where the highenergy densityof ahydrocarbon fuel, combined with the modular nature of canisters (a strong metal container) allows bright and long lasting light to be produced cheaply and without complex equipment. In addition, some urban historical districts retain gasstreet lighting, and gas lighting is used indoors or outdoors to create or preserve a nostalgic effect.

These problems with gas lighting led to the rapid adoption of electric lighting. By 1881, the Savoy Theatre in London was using incandescent lighting.[30]As electric lighting was being introduced to theatre stages, people who still were using gas theatre lighting developed thegas mantlein 1885. This was a beehive-shaped mesh of knitted thread impregnated with lime that, in miniature, converted the naked gas flame into in effect, a lime-light.[31]Electric lighting would slowly take over theatre lighting. In the twentieth century, electric lighting would lead to even better and safer theater productions. These productions would be comfortable to watch with no smell, relatively very little heat, and more freedom for designers.

Later in the eighteenth CenturyWilliam Murdochwould state: the gas obtained by distillation from coal, peat, wood and other inflammable substances burnt with great brilliancy upon being set fire to by conducting it through tubes, it might be employed as an economical substitute for lamps and candles.[20]Murdochs first invention was a lantern with a gas-filled bladder attached to a jet. He would use this to walk home at night. After seeing how well this worked he decided to light his home with gas. In 1797, Murdoch would install gas lighting into his new home as well as the workshop in which he worked. This work was of a large scale, and he next experimented to find better ways of producing, purifying, and burning the gas.[21]The foundation had been laid for companies to start producing gas and other inventors to start playing with ways of using the new technology. This new technology would quickly find its way to the stage.

In 1817, at the three stations of the Chartered Gas Company, 25chaldrons(24 m³) of coal werecarbonizeddaily, producing 300,000 cubic feet (8,500 m³) of gas. This supplied gas lamps equal to 75,000Argand lampseach yielding the light of six candles. At the City Gas Works, in Dorset Street,Blackfriars, three chaldrons of coal were carbonized each day, providing the gas equivalent of 9,000 Argand lamps. So 28 chaldrons of coal were carbonized daily, and 84,000 lights supplied by those two companies only.

Alamplighterlighting a gas streetlight in Sweden, 1953. By this time, remaining gas lamps were rare curiosities.

Oil-gasappeared in the field as a rival of coal-gas. In 1815,John Taylorpatented an apparatus for the decomposition of oil and other animal substances. Public attention was attracted to oil-gas by the display of the patent apparatus atApothecarys Hall, byTaylor & Martineau.

However, gas lighting of streets has not disappeared completely from some cities, and the few municipalities that retained gas lighting now find that it provides a pleasing nostalgic effect. Gas lighting is also seeing a resurgence in theluxury homemarket for those in search of historical authenticity.

The light is produced either directly by the flame, generally by using special mixes ofilluminating gasto increase brightness, or indirectly with other components such as thegas mantleor thelimelight, with the gas primarily functioning as a fuel source.

It would take close to two hundred years for gas to become accessible for commercial use. A Flemish alchemist,Jan Baptista van Helmont, was the first person to formally recognize gas as a state of matter. He would go on to identify several types of gases, including carbon dioxide. Over one hundred years later in 1733, SirJames Lowtherhad some of his miners working on a water pit for his mine. While digging the pit they hit a pocket of gas. Lowther took a sample of the gas and took it home to do some experiments. He noted, The said air being put into a bladder and tied close, may be carried away, and kept some days, and being afterwards pressed gently through a small pipe into the flame of a candle, will take fire, and burn at the end of the pipe as long as the bladder is gently pressed to feed the flame, and when taken from the candle after it is so lighted, it will continue burning till there is no more air left in the bladder to supply the flame.[19]Lowther had basically discovered the principle behind gas lighting.

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Gas lighting in the historical center ofWrocław, Polandis manually turned off and on daily.

Throughout the 19th century and into the first decades of the 20th, the gas was manufactured by thegasificationof coal. In the latter years of the nineteenth century, natural gas began to replace coal-gas, first in the US, and then in other parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, coal-gas was used until the early 1970s.

South Orange, New Jersey, has adopted the gaslight as the symbol of the town, and uses them on nearly all streets. Several other towns inNew Jerseyalso retain gas lighting:Glen RidgePalmyraRiverton, and some parts ofOrangeCape Mayand Cherry Hill. The village ofRiverside, Illinois, still uses its original gas street lights that are an original feature of theFrederick Law Olmstedplanned community.Manhattan Beach, California, has a gas lamp section in which all the sidewalks are lit by public gas lamps.Disneylandhas authentic 19th century gas lamps from Baltimore along theMain Street, U.S.A.section of thetheme park.

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