Gas lighting

Gas lighting

Overview
Gas lighting is production of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

, methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

, carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

, propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

, butane
Butane
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...

, acetylene
Acetylene
Acetylene is the chemical compound with the formula C2H2. It is a hydrocarbon and the simplest alkyne. This colorless gas is widely used as a fuel and a chemical building block. It is unstable in pure form and thus is usually handled as a solution.As an alkyne, acetylene is unsaturated because...

, ethylene
Ethylene
Ethylene is a gaseous organic compound with the formula . It is the simplest alkene . Because it contains a carbon-carbon double bond, ethylene is classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Ethylene is widely used in industry and is also a plant hormone...

, or natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

. Before electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most popular means of lighting in cities and suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

s. Early gas lights had to be lit manually, but later gas lights were self-igniting.

Gas lighting today is typically used for camping
Camping
Camping is an outdoor recreational activity. The participants leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights outdoors, usually at a campsite. Camping may involve the use of a tent, caravan, motorhome, cabin, a primitive structure, or no...

, where the high energy density
Energy density
Energy density is a term used for the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume. Often only the useful or extractable energy is quantified, which is to say that chemically inaccessible energy such as rest mass energy is ignored...

 of a hydrocarbon 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.



Early lighting fuels consisted of olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

, beeswax
Beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...

, fish oil
Fish oil
Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid , and docosahexaenoic acid , precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, and are thought to have many health benefits.Fish do not...

, whale oil
Whale oil
Whale oil is the oil obtained from the blubber of various species of whales, particularly the three species of right whale and the bowhead whale prior to the modern era, as well as several other species of baleen whale...

, sesame oil
Sesame oil
Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine.The oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative...

, nut oil, and similar substances.
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Encyclopedia
Gas lighting is production of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

, methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

, carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

, propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

, butane
Butane
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...

, acetylene
Acetylene
Acetylene is the chemical compound with the formula C2H2. It is a hydrocarbon and the simplest alkyne. This colorless gas is widely used as a fuel and a chemical building block. It is unstable in pure form and thus is usually handled as a solution.As an alkyne, acetylene is unsaturated because...

, ethylene
Ethylene
Ethylene is a gaseous organic compound with the formula . It is the simplest alkene . Because it contains a carbon-carbon double bond, ethylene is classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Ethylene is widely used in industry and is also a plant hormone...

, or natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

. Before electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most popular means of lighting in cities and suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

s. Early gas lights had to be lit manually, but later gas lights were self-igniting.

Gas lighting today is typically used for camping
Camping
Camping is an outdoor recreational activity. The participants leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights outdoors, usually at a campsite. Camping may involve the use of a tent, caravan, motorhome, cabin, a primitive structure, or no...

, where the high energy density
Energy density
Energy density is a term used for the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume. Often only the useful or extractable energy is quantified, which is to say that chemically inaccessible energy such as rest mass energy is ignored...

 of a hydrocarbon 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.

Background



Early lighting fuels consisted of olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

, beeswax
Beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...

, fish oil
Fish oil
Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid , and docosahexaenoic acid , precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, and are thought to have many health benefits.Fish do not...

, whale oil
Whale oil
Whale oil is the oil obtained from the blubber of various species of whales, particularly the three species of right whale and the bowhead whale prior to the modern era, as well as several other species of baleen whale...

, sesame oil
Sesame oil
Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine.The oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative...

, nut oil, and similar substances. These were the most commonly used fuels until the late 18th century. Chinese records dating back 1700 years note the use of natural gas in the home for light and heat via bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 pipes to the dwellings.

Public illumination preceded the discovery and adoption of gaslight by centuries. In 1417, Sir Henry Barton
Henry Barton
Henry Barton was appointed Sheriff of London in 1406 and elected Lord Mayor of London in 1416....

, Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

, ordained "lanterns with lights to be hanged out on the winter evenings between Hallowtide
All Saints
All Saints' Day , often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown...

 and Candlemasse." Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 was 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 their lantern
Lantern
A lantern is a portable lighting device or mounted light fixture used to illuminate broad areas. Lanterns may also be used for signaling, as 'torches', or as general light sources outdoors . Low light level varieties are used for decoration. The term "lantern" is also used more generically to...

s at 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, from Michaelmas
Michaelmas
Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel is a day in the Western Christian calendar which occurs on 29 September...

 to Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

. By an Act of the Common Council
Corporation of London
The City of London Corporation is the municipal governing body of the City of London. It exercises control only over the City , and not over Greater London...

 in 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 o'clock, under the penalty of one shilling
Shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

 as a fine for failing to do so.

In coal mining
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

, accumulating and escaping gases were known originally for their adverse effects rather than their useful qualities. Coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 miners described two types of gases, one called the choke damp and the other fire 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."

Dr. Stephen Hales
Stephen Hales
Stephen Hales, FRS was an English physiologist, chemist and inventor.Hales studied the role of air and water in the maintenance of both plant and animal life. He gave accurate accounts of the movements of water in plants, and demonstrated that plants absorb air...

 was 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 his Vegetable Statics, published in 1726. From the distillation of "one hundred and fifty-eight grains [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.

In the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society is a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of London. It was established in 1665, making it the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science, and it has remained in continuous publication ever since, making it the world's...

in 1733, some properties of coal-gas are detailed in a paper called, "An Account of the Damp Air in a Coal-pit of Sir James Lowther
Sir James Lowther, 4th Baronet
Sir James Lowther, 4th Baronet, FRS was an English landowner, politician and industrialist. He obtained immense wealth from coal mines in northern England, which he extensively developed and modernised.-Early life:...

, sunk within Twenty Yards of the Sea." This paper, contained some striking facts relating to the flammability and other properties of coal-gas.

The principal properties of coal-gas were demonstrated to different members of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, 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.

Dr. John Clayton, in an extract from a letter in the Philosophical Transactions for 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.

The first gas lighting


William Murdoch
William Murdoch
William Murdoch was a Scottish engineer and long-term inventor.Murdoch was employed by the firm of Boulton and Watt and worked for them in Cornwall, as a steam engine erector for ten years, spending most of the rest of his life in Birmingham, England.He was the inventor of the oscillating steam...

 (sometimes spelled "Murdock") was the first to utilize the flammability of gas for the practical application of lighting. He worked for Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton, FRS was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the...

 and James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

 at their Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry was a factory created in 1795 by Matthew Boulton and James Watt at Smethwick, West Midlands, England , for the manufacture of steam engines.-History:...

 steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

 works in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 England. In the early 1790s, while overseeing the use of his company's 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 in Redruth
Redruth
Redruth is a town and civil parish traditionally in the Penwith Hundred in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It has a population of 12,352. Redruth lies approximately at the junction of the A393 and A3047 roads, on the route of the old London to Land's End trunk road , and is approximately west of...

, Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 in 1792. 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
Samuel Clegg
Samuel Clegg was a British civil engineer.Clegg was born at Manchester on 2 March 1781, received a scientific education under the care of Dr. Dalton. He was then apprenticed to Boulton and Watt, and at the Soho Manufactory witnessed many of William Murdoch's earlier experiments in the use of coal...

, saw the potential of this new form of lighting. Clegg left his job to set up his own gas lighting business, the Gas Lighting and Coke
Coke (fuel)
Coke is the solid carbonaceous material derived from destructive distillation of low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal. Cokes from coal are grey, hard, and porous. While coke can be formed naturally, the commonly used form is man-made.- History :...

 Company.


A "thermolampe" using gas distilled from wood
Wood gas
Wood gas is a syngas fuel which can be used as a fuel for furnaces, stoves and vehicles in place of petrol, diesel or other fuels. During the production process biomass or other carbon-containing materials is gasified within the oxygen-limited environment of a wood gas generator to produce hydrogen...

 was patented in 1799, whilst German inventor Friedrich Winzer (Frederick Albert Winsor
Frederick Albert Winsor
Frederick Albert Winsor, originally Friedrich Albrecht Winzer was a German inventor, one of the pioneers of gas lighting in the UK and France....

) was the first person to patent coal-gas lighting in 1804.

In 1801, Phillipe Lebon of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 had 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.

In 1804, Dr. Henry delivered a course of lectures on chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, at Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, 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
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

, different kinds of coal, oil, wax, &c. he quantified the intensity of the light from each source.

Josiah Pemberton, an inventor, had for some time been experimenting on the nature of gas. A resident of Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, 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, for Benjamin Cooke
Benjamin Cooke
Benjamin Cooke was an English composer, organist and teacher.Cooke was born in London and named after his father, a music publisher based in Covent Garden...

, a manufacturer of brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

 tubes, gilt
Gilding
The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as "gilt"...

 toys, and other articles.

In 1806, Murdoch presented to the Royal Society a 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 Rumford's gold medal. Murdoch's statements threw great light on the comparative advantage of gas and candles and contained much useful information on the expenses of production and management.

The first public street lighting with gas was demonstrated in Pall Mall, London
Pall Mall, London
Pall Mall is a street in the City of Westminster, London, and parallel to The Mall, from St. James's Street across Waterloo Place to the Haymarket; while Pall Mall East continues into Trafalgar Square. The street is a major thoroughfare in the St James's area of London, and a section of the...

 on January 28, 1807 by Frederick Albert Winsor
Frederick Albert Winsor
Frederick Albert Winsor, originally Friedrich Albrecht Winzer was a German inventor, one of the pioneers of gas lighting in the UK and France....

. In 1812, Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 granted a charter to the London and Westminster Gas Light and Coke Company
Gas Light and Coke Company
The Gas Light and Coke Company , was a company that made and supplied coal gas and coke. The Company was located on Horseferry Road in Westminster, London...

, and the first gas company in the world came into being. Less than two years later, on December 31, 1813, the Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames between Westminster on the north side and Lambeth on the south side, in London, England....

 was lit by gas.

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. 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 rotative retort
Retort
In a chemistry laboratory, a retort is a glassware device used for distillation or dry distillation of substances. It consists of a spherical vessel with a long downward-pointing neck. The liquid to be distilled is placed in the vessel and heated...

, his apparatus for purifying coal-gas with cream of lime, and for his rotative gas meter
Gas meter
A gas meter is used to measure the volume of fuel gases such as natural gas and propane. Gas meters are used at residential, commercial, and industrial buildings that consume fuel gas supplied by a gas utility. Gases are more difficult to measure than liquids, as measured volumes are highly...

 and self-acting governor
Governor (device)
A governor, or speed limiter, is a device used to measure and regulate the speed of a machine, such as an engine. A classic example is the centrifugal governor, also known as the Watt or fly-ball governor, which uses a rotating assembly of weights mounted on arms to determine how fast the engine...

.

The spread of gas lighting


Following this success, gas lighting spread to other countries. The use of gas lights in Rembrandt Peale
Rembrandt Peale
Rembrandt Peale was an American artist and museum keeper. A prolific portrait painter, he was especially acclaimed for his likenesses of presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson...

's Museum in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 in 1816 was a great success. Baltimore was the first American city with gas streetlights, provided by Peale's Gas Light Company of Baltimore.

The first place, outside of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to have gas lighting, was Preston, Lancashire in 1825, this was due to the Preston Gaslight Company run by revolutionary Joseph Dunn, who found the most improved way of brighter gas lighting.

The first private residence in the US illuminated by gas was that of William Henry, a coppersmith
Coppersmith
A coppersmith, also known as a redsmith, is a person who makes artifacts from copper. The term redsmith comes from the colour of copper....

, at 200 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

.

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.

In 1817, at the three stations of the Chartered Gas Company, 25 chaldron
Chaldron
A chaldron was a dry English measure of volume, mostly used for coal; the word itself is an obsolete spelling of cauldron...

s (24 m³) of coal were carbonized
Carbonization
Carbonization or carbonisation is the term for the conversion of an organic substance into carbon or a carbon-containing residue through pyrolysis or destructive distillation. It is often used in organic chemistry with reference to the generation of coal gas and coal tar from raw coal...

 daily, producing 300,000 cubic feet (8,500 m³) of gas. This supplied gas lamps equal to 75,000 Argand lamp
Argand lamp
The Argand lamp is home lighting oil lamp producing a light output of 6 to 10 candlepower which was invented and patented in 1780 by Aimé Argand...

s each 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.

At this period the principal difficulty in gas manufacture was purification. Mr. D. Wilson, of Dublin, patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

ed a method for purifying coal-gas by means of the chemical action of ammoniacal gas. Another plan was devised by Mr. Reuben Phillips, of Exeter
Exeter
Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district, and is therefore under the administration of the...

, who patented the purification of coal-gas by the use of dry lime. 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.

By 1823, numerous towns and cities throughout Britain were lit by gas. Gaslight cost up to 75% less than oil lamp
Oil lamp
An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and is continued to this day....

s or candles, which helped to accelerate its development and deployment. By 1859, gas lighting was to be found all over Britain and about a thousand gas works had 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 second Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

Oil-gas appeared in the field as a rival of coal-gas. In 1815, John Taylor patented 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 at Apothecary's Hall, by Messrs. Taylor and Martineau.

In 1891, the invention of the gas mantle
Gas mantle
An incandescent gas mantle, gas mantle, or Welsbach mantle is a device for generating bright white light when heated by a flame. The name refers to its original heat source, existing gas lights, which filled the streets of Europe and North America in the late 19th century, mantle referring to the...

 by the Austrian
Austrians
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....

 chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach
Carl Auer von Welsbach
Carl Auer Freiherr von Welsbach was an Austrian scientist and inventor who had a talent for not only discovering advances, but turning them into commercially successful products...

 eliminated the need for special illuminating gas, a synthetic mixture of hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 and hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 gases produced by destructive distillation
Destructive distillation
Destructive distillation is the chemical process involving the decomposition of feedstock by heating to a high temperature; the term generally applies to processing of organic material in the absence of air or in the presence of limited amounts of oxygen or other reagents, catalysts, or solvents,...

 of bituminous coal
Bituminous coal
Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than Anthracite...

 or peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

, to get bright shining flames.
Illuminating gas was used for gas lighting, as it produces a much brighter light than natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 or water gas
Water gas
Water gas is a synthesis gas, containing carbon monoxide and hydrogen. It is a useful product but requires careful handling because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The gas is made by passing steam over a red-hot hydrocarbon fuel such as coke:...

. 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 Dixon's pilot plant exploded in 1760, setting back the production of illuminating gas a few years. The first commercial application was in a Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 cotton mill
Cotton mill
A cotton mill is a factory that houses spinning and weaving machinery. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution....

 in 1806. In 1901, studies of the defoliant
Defoliant
A defoliant is any chemical sprayed or dusted on plants to cause its leaves to fall off. A classic example of a highly toxic defoliant is Agent Orange, which the United States armed forces used abundantly to defoliate regions of Vietnam during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1970.Defoliants differ...

 effect of leaking gas pipes led to the discovery that ethylene is a plant hormone
Plant hormone
Plant hormones are chemicals that regulate plant growth, which, in the UK, are termed 'plant growth substances'. Plant hormones are signal molecules produced within the plant, and occur in extremely low concentrations. Hormones regulate cellular processes in targeted cells locally and, when moved...

.

Throughout the 19th century and into the first decades of the 20th, the gas was manufactured by the gasification
Gasification
Gasification is a process that converts organic or fossil based carbonaceous materials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. This is achieved by reacting the material at high temperatures , without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam...

 of 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 after the Second World War.

Gas lighting in theatres


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.

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 gasses including carbon dioxide. Over one hundred years later in 1733, Sir James Lowther
Sir James Lowther, 4th Baronet
Sir James Lowther, 4th Baronet, FRS was an English landowner, politician and industrialist. He obtained immense wealth from coal mines in northern England, which he extensively developed and modernised.-Early life:...

 had some of his miners working on a water pit for his mine. While digging the pit they hit a pocket of gas. Lowther took some 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 form 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."
(Penzel 28)
Lowther had basically discovered the principle behind gas lighting. Later in the eighteenth Century William Murdoch
William Murdoch
William Murdoch was a Scottish engineer and long-term inventor.Murdoch was employed by the firm of Boulton and Watt and worked for them in Cornwall, as a steam engine erector for ten years, spending most of the rest of his life in Birmingham, England.He was the inventor of the oscillating steam...

 would 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." (Penzel 29)
Murdoch’s 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.”(Penzel 30) 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 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 Windsor, a German, first demonstrated the way to use gas to light the stage in London at the Lyceum 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” (Wilson,362). 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.” (Sellman 15)
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.” (Pilbrow 174).

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 the Theatre de Chatelet, built in 1862 (Penzel 69). In 1875 the new Paris Opera
Paris Opera
The Paris Opera is the primary opera company of Paris, France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and renamed the Académie Royale de Musique...

 was constructed. “Its lighting system contained more than twenty-eight miles of gas piping, and its gas table had no fewer than eighty-eight stopcocks, which controlled nine hundred and sixty gas jets.” (Penzel 69) The theatre that used the most gas lighting was the Astley’s 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 witnessed, even in dreams.” (Penzel 69)

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.” (Pilbrow 174). Theatres also no longer need to worry about wax dripping on the audience during a show. 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.” (Pilbrow 174).

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 nineteenth century. 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." (Sellman 15)
These problems with gas lighting led to the rapid adoption of electric lighting. “Thomas Edison’s electric incandescent lamp, invented in 1879. By 1881, the Savoy Theatre in London was using incandescent lighting.” (Wilson 364). As electric lighting was being introduced to theatre stages, people who still were using theatre lighting developed the gas mantle in 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.” (Baugh, 24). However, this made the light produced brighter, an “Engineering report indicates, the pressure to achieve audience comfort, convenience and, above all, the safety that electricity provided ensured that electric technology was rapidly introduced.” (Baugh 24). Electric lighting would slowly take over all lighting, not just in theatres, but everywhere else. 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.

Gas street lighting today


In the early 20th century, most cities in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 had gaslit streets. However, gas lighting for streets soon gave way to electric lighting. Small incandescent light bulb
Incandescent light bulb
The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe makes light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from air by a glass bulb that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp, a chemical process...

s began to replace gas lights in homes in the late 19th century, although the transition took decades to complete. See, for example, rural electrification
Rural electrification
Rural electrification is the process of bringing electrical power to rural and remote areas. Electricity is used not only for lighting and household purposes, but it also allows for mechanization of many farming operations, such as threshing, milking, and hoisting grain for storage; in areas...

.

Gas lighting has not disappeared completely from cities. Cities that retain gas lighting now often find that it provides a pleasing nostalgic effect. Similarly, gas lighting is also seeing a resurgence in the luxury home market for those in search of historical accuracy.
The largest gas lighting network in Europe is probably that of Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 with about 44,000 lamps. Quite a few streets in central London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the Royal Parks and the exterior of Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

 remain gaslit as well as almost the entire Covent Garden area. The Park Estate in Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

 retains much of its original character, including the original gas lighting network.

In the United States, more than 2,800 gas lights in Boston operate in the historic districts of Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts
Beacon Hill is a historic neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, that along with the neighboring Back Bay is home to about 26,000 people. It is a neighborhood of Federal-style rowhouses and is known for its narrow, gas-lit streets and brick sidewalks...

, Back Bay, Charlestown and parts of other neighborhoods. In Cincinnati, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 more than 1100 gas lights
Cincinnati Street Gas Lamps
The Cincinnati Street Gas Lamps are a historic district in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. Composed of more than 1,100 street lamps scattered throughout the city, the district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978....

 operate and have been named a historic district
Historic district (United States)
In the United States, a historic district is a group of buildings, properties, or sites that have been designated by one of several entities on different levels as historically or architecturally significant. Buildings, structures, objects and sites within a historic district are normally divided...

; gas lights also operate in parts of the famed French Quarter
French Quarter
The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. When New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city was originally centered on the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré as it was known then...

 in New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. A gas lamp is located at N. Holliday Street and E. Baltimore Street in Baltimore as a monument to the first gas lamp in America erected at that location.

South Orange, New Jersey
South Orange, New Jersey
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 16,964 people, 5,522 households, and 3,766 families residing in the township. The population density was 5,945.3 people per square mile . There were 5,671 housing units at an average density of 1,987.5 per square mile...

 has adopted the gaslight as the symbol of the town, and uses them on nearly all streets. Several other towns in New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 also retain gas lighting: Glen Ridge
Glen Ridge, New Jersey
Glen Ridge is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 7,527. In 2010, Glen Ridge was ranked as the 38th Best Place to live by New Jersey Monthly magazine....

, Palmyra
Palmyra, New Jersey
Palmyra is a Borough in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2000 United States Census, the borough population was 7,091.Palmyra was originally incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 19, 1894, from portions of Cinnaminson Township and Riverton...

, Riverton
Riverton, New Jersey
Riverton is a Borough located in Burlington County, New Jersey. As of the United States 2000 Census, the borough had a total population of 2,759....

, and some parts of Orange
Orange, New Jersey
The City of Orange is a city and township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 30,134...

, Cape May
Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May is a city at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula in Cape May County, New Jersey, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the country's oldest vacation resort destinations. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 United States...

 and Cherry Hill. The Village of Riverside, Illinois
Riverside, Illinois
Riverside is an affluent suburban village in Cook County, Illinois. A significant portion of the village is in the Riverside Landscape Architecture District, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The population was 8,895 at the 2000 census...

, still uses its original gas street lights that are an original feature of the Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted was an American journalist, social critic, public administrator, and landscape designer. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, although many scholars have bestowed that title upon Andrew Jackson Downing...

 planned community.

Many gas utility companies will still quote a fixed periodic rate for a customer-maintained gas lamp and homeowners still utilize such devices. However, the high cost of natural gas lighting 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%.

The most popular gas lighting fixtures today are made from copper, a sustainable and durable metal that ages and patinas to protect itself from the elements. Gas Lights today are also used with electronic ignition systems that allow the lights to be controlled from an ordinary light switch. With energy conservation a pressing issue today, these systems can also allow gas lights to be placed on a timer or photocell so that they are not running continuously, only when needed. Today gas lights are widely used for creating ambiance and to accentuate a property's design.

The use of natural gas (methane) for indoor lighting is nearly extinct. Besides producing a lot of heat, the combustion of methane tends to release significant amounts of carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

, a colorless and odorless gas which is more readily absorbed by the blood than oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, 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. New fixtures are still made and available for propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

 (sometimes called bottle(d) gas), a product of oil refining, which under most circumstances burns more completely to carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 and water vapor.

In some locations where public utility electricity or kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 are not readily accessible or desirable, propane gas mantle lamps are still used, although the increased availability of alternative energy sources, such as solar panel
Photovoltaic module
A solar panel is a packaged, connected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells...

s and small scale wind generators, combined with increasing efficiency of lighting products, such as compact fluorescent lamp
Compact fluorescent lamp
A compact fluorescent lamp , also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, and compact fluorescent tube, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp; some types fit into light fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps...

s and LED
LEd
LEd is a TeX/LaTeX editing software working under Microsoft Windows. It is a freeware product....

s are diminishing their use. For occasional use in remote cabins and cottages, propane mantle lamps may still be more economical and less labor intensive than an alternative energy
Alternative energy
Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels....

 system.

Other uses


Perforated tubes bent into the shape of letters were used to form gas lit advertising signs, prior to the introduction of neon lights, as early as 1857 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand...

. Gas lighting is still in common use for camping
Camping
Camping is an outdoor recreational activity. The participants leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights outdoors, usually at a campsite. Camping may involve the use of a tent, caravan, motorhome, cabin, a primitive structure, or no...

 lights. Small portable gas lamps, connected to a portable gas cylinder, are a common item on camping trips. Mantle lamps powered by vaporized petrol are also available.

External links