The Government of Light: Gasworks, Gaslight, and Photometry

in The Victorian Eye

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226640761
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226640785 | DOI:
The Government of Light: Gasworks, Gaslight, and Photometry

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter studies the development of gaslight and the networks that secured it. As physical systems delivering gas to its point of illumination proliferated, questions of management became pressing. Mains and gasworks had to be inspected and maintained, while the standards of both gas and the light it produced needed calculating. The science of photometry had emerged in the eighteenth century but became particularly important when light levels, for both public and private use, required measuring. This was an extremely complicated task, and the chapter traces the institutionalization of municipal photometry and various attempts to establish minimal light levels for streetlights.

Keywords: gas networks; municipal photometry; light levels; streetlights

Chapter.  13361 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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