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DC Event Lighting and Sound is a full-service provider for lighting, staging and sound solutions to the special event industry catering to the greater Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland areas.




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Planning a corporate event? Our rental department has what you need to flawlessly execute your next corporate resentation, product launch and more. Inquire with DCELS about rojector rentals, pipe and base, uplighting, branded corporate gobo, and more.



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Gas lighting

Gas lighting is production 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 incities and suburbs. Early gas lights had to be lit manually, but later gas lights were self-igniting.

Gas lighting today is typically used for camping, where the high energy density 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, beeswax, fish oil, whale oil, sesame oil, 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 pipes to the dwellings.

Public illumination preceded the discovery and adoption of gaslight by centuries. In 1417, Sir Henry Barton, Mayor of London, ordained "lanterns with lights to be hanged out on the winter evenings between Hallowtide and Candlemasse." Paris 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 lanterns 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 toChristmas. By an Act of the Common Council 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 oneshilling as a fine for failing to do so.

In coal mining, accumulating and escaping gases were known originally for their adverse effects rather than their useful qualities. Coal 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."

Stephen Hales 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 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, 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, 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.

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.