First Encounter

Gas lighting “refers to creating of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, propane, butane, acetylene, ethylene or natural gas. Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most popular means of lighting in cities and suburbs. Early gas lights had to be lit manually, but later gas lights were self-lighting.” — from Wikipage.

17 thoughts on “First Encounter

  1. Ray DeRousse on said:

    Uh, this was your first encounter with a gas light??

  2. No reference to the movie-inspired alternate definition of “gaslighting”.. as recently re-popularized bySteely Dan’s “Gaslighting Abby”?

  3. I’m from the Netherlands, and I’ve never gas lightning here, so you would be unique here, and at the same time you’re going back in time.

  4. Wells to Ray De Rousse: Yes, and shut up. You’re implying that genuine gas lamps on city streets aren’t that uncommon, and that encountering one isn’t worthy of a mention. They’re virtually extinct, even in London or Prague, and as far as I can tell have been extinct for something like 90 to 100 years, if not longer. Public utility electricity was commonplace by the early 1900s, for the most part. Go to San Diego’s Gaslamp district and tell me if you can find one single gas-fed, non-electric gaslamp.

  5. Jeff, was this a city street lamp, or was it on someone’s private property? In the 50′s through the 80′s, these kinds of lamps were very common in private yards – I grew up in the deep South, in a very modest home, and every house on the street had one of these lights next to the driveway. We also had gas space heaters built into the wall in our bathrooms.

    You can still find these all over the South, but I don’t think you see many in homes built since, say, 1990.

  6. OK, I just watched the video, and as I questioned, this appears to be on a private property – a house. This is still very common in the South in older subdivisions.

  7. DeRousse to Wells: JR points out why I asked my question in the first place. My childhood house STILL has a gas light in the front yard, as do many of the houses in that neighborhood. Sure, many newer houses don’t have them, but you’re much older than I am, and I would expect that you’d have seen one in your lifetime.

    So perhaps YOU should shut up and get out more often.

  8. Getting out wouldn’t be much help unless he was in a Southern neighborhood though, now would it? Hmm?

    Comments that follow the structure of “what? you’ve never _______?” are unwarranted 90% of the time.

    They’re especially annoying when they’re expressing astonishment over a person having not seen a certain movie, the only exception being Star Wars.

    The world ain’t that small.

  9. @plainview – I don’t live in the south, and I’ve seen gas-powered street lights. I shouldn’t be surprised when a sixty-something American male says he’s never seen one in his life? The world isn’t that big, either.

  10. Never stopped over in London on your way to France, I see, THOUSANDS of these things still there. Ditto Bourbon Street.

    I know the “adult” Wells would never be caught dead at Mardi Gras, but surely the younger Wells went there once?

  11. Ray DeRousse: Where have you seen “gas-powered street lights”… assuming you mean public lamps that are actually used to light the street instead of modern means, and not just gas lamps for decorative purposes on private property? Not doubting you, but I’m just curious, as I can’t think of any munincipalities that actually employ dudes whose job it is to light these things up every dusk.

  12. I’ve seen them in a few places DC and Old Town Alexandria. And they are all over the French Quarter in New Orleans. But not many other places at all, not for many generations.

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