Gas Lighting

When this house was originally built back in 1890, it had both electric and gas lighting.  The reason for having both was that light bulbs were not  fully developed and did not cast enough light to be the primary source of light.  The old light bulbs looked like this:

The old gas lights are long gone from this house as they are from almost every house that once had them.  The gas lines that fed the old lights can be seen in a number of places throughout the house, mainly poking out of the floors where the heating pipes feed the radiators in each of the rooms.  These old gas lines have been disconnected long ago. (Thank God!) 

One of my goals in restoring this house is to be able to restore working gas light fixtures in a few places.  I realize that this is a bit of a stretch, but I think it would be way cool to be able to walk over to an old gas light and demonstrate how it once worked.  Definitely a very cool conversation piece.


The project started with a purchase I made of a bunch of gas light parts.  The parts were comprised of 11 matching gas sconces, not all complete.  They were in pretty rough shape to say the very least.  This is a picture of some of them.


After a polishing them, I had them fitted with solid brass globe holders.  I found a set of four antique wall plates and had those polished to match.  Lastly, I picked out four ornate etched glass globes. Now that they are starting to look the right way, it was time to test them out...


The short of it is that I set up a gas line in the basement and adapted the piping to fit securely to the old fixture.  I cleaned out the old gas valve to make sure it moves smoothly and didn't leak.  Then, I turned on the gas and lit her up.  These old lights cast a very warm glow. 


While restoring the Living Room, I had a pair of natural gas lines run inside the walls. 


In the end, they worked out great.  Each of the gas lines has an individual shut-off in the basement that remains off almost all of the time.  I only light them for special occasions.  (You never know with a fixture this old, why take too many chances.)





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