My tea is nearly ready
and the sun has left the sky
It's time to take the window
to see Leerie going by
For every night at tea-time
and before you take your seat
With lantern and with ladder
he comes posting up the street.
Now Tom would be a driver
and Maria go to sea
And my Papa's a banker
and as rich as he can be.
But I, when I am stronger
and can choose what I'm to do
O Leerie, I'll go round at night
and light the lamps with you!
For we are very lucky
with a lamp before the door
And Leerie stops to light it
as he lights so many more.
And O! before you hurry by
with ladder and with light
O Leerie, see a little child
and nod to him to-night!
Robert Louis Stevenson
Well I only have limited space for a Web page, so what
does one write about? I guess the best
thing is to post something you know a little about and others may find interesting.
I'm a gaslight buff-I like restoring them and have a working antique gas street lamp in
the front yard. Most folks nowadays dont know or never heard of a gaslamp or light so
I'll post some info and pictures here for you. It wont be to long because I know its no
fun sitting at the computer and just reading! :)
Notice the simple bunsen burner type lite on the wall, commonly used in taverns. c 1848
A LITTLE HISTORY
Gas has been around for quite a few years, with legends
dating back 3000 years where in
Greece a herdsman tells of a burning spring. The Chinese were among the first to trans-
port gas using pipes made of bamboo. Recent times, at least here in the US, start with
Rembrandt Peale of Baltimore, Md.
In 1816, Peale went to England to learn how gas was being
used for lighting purposes.
Bringing his new found information and ideas back to the US, he displayed his "Ring of
Fire" at his museum. It quickly caught on, within days,a company was formed and this
created the foundation for the company that is now Baltimore Gas and Electric.
Peale installed the first public gas street light and on Feburary 7, 1817 it was officially
lighted. Ive had the pleasure to help restore this lamp and several at the Peale museum.
The top photo and the background on this page is this lamp. I will include a picture of the
plaque mounted on this lamp.
Photo on left is of lamps in the courtyard at Peales, the right is the entrance to Peales.
Gas lamps were widely used to light interior of homes,
including the White House. From
simple open flame burners to ornate crystal and brass chandeliers, gas lamps at the
time were the way to go. Although more flame than light its hard to believe more homes
and buildings didnt burn down. Who knows how many fires were started from a gas lamp.
Watch the old movie "Gaslight" and you'll get the idea what it was like to light by gas.
Untill the turn of the century when Welsbach of Germany invented the mantle did the
gas lights really shine! The mantle allowed the gas to finally burn at a white glow and
did away with the flickering yellow flame. Most gas lit homes had "jets" in various rooms
where one could "plug" a lamp into. These were fitted with a hose so they could be
moved from room to room. These lamps looked very similar to a kersone hurricane style
Early use of gas was of the manufactured coal gas. This
gas was indeed deadly, which
is why alot of homes kept caged canaries to act as gas detectors. A croaked bird could
very well mean a gas leak! Not to worry now folks, natural gas used nowadays, is
non-toxic. With the appearance of electricity, during the early part of this century, many
gas lamps and fixtures were manufacted to use gas and electric. Eventually electricity
won and spelled the demise of the gas lamps. I own numerous old fixtures and
occasionally "light em up" to enjoy the ambience of the glow of the gas light.
Once in awhile I run into one of our senior citizens who can still remember lighting by gas.
Their homes and streets, some even remember the lamplighter's name. Some admit
to when they were kids to throwing stones at the street lights and breaking the globes.
A good but hard job to get was the lamplighter. Assigned
approx. 75 lamps apiece he would
turn them on in the evening and off at morn. The lamplighter was a well known person
through out the neighborhood. He serviced the lamps, cleaning globes and adjusting
burners. His job was soon to be jeopardized when a wind up clock was invented to
dim the lights during the day and to bring full flame on in the evening. This clock would
run for 8 days before winding was needed again. This allowed for lamplighters to tend
to more lamps and thus less lamplighters were needed. Baltimore city dismantled their
gas street lamps during the 1950's to make way for the electric ones. The city of Cape
May, NJ currently uses approx 120 public gas street lights in addition to their electric
lights. This town with its old Victorian gingerbread homes is a good place to get the
feeling of the gaslight era.
I would enjoy receiving any stories or remembrances that
you may have of gaslights.
Pass them on to me...and thanks for stopping by!!
Myself on the left and friend Steve Pedri service the lamp that Peale
in 1817. Although this lamp is not the orginal, it shows the 8 day windup clock. This
lamp is probably from the 1920-30's era.
These are pictures of the open flame type gaslights, c1830
Left is a picture of an interior lamp that used a mantle and globe, right is a closeup of the 8 day clock.
This is a gas fixture c 1870. Ontario, Canada
Dedicated to my wife Debbie
who puts up with my Foolishness :)
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at Fritter@Prodigy.Net
Theres usually always parts and fixtures avaiable at eBay..follow this link and register!
Need to find parts for your gaslights...Try these..
GasLite Manufacturing Co
Cunningham Gas Products
Swing by here to see some GREAT antique lamps
LIke Carnival Glass or Want to learn about it..visit my friend Mike..hes the EXPERT!!
Mike's Carnival Glass at Taylors Antique