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The spread of gas lighting

Following this success, gas lighting spread to other countries. The use of gas lights in Rembrandt Peale's Museum in Baltimore in 1816 was a great success. Baltimore was the first American city with gas streetlights, provided by Peale's Gas Light Company of Baltimore.

The first place, outside of London in England to have gas lighting, was Preston, Lancashire in 1825, this was due to the Preston Gaslight Company run by revolutionary Joseph Dunn, who found the most improved way of brighter gas lighting.

The first private residence in the US illuminated by gas was that of William Henry, a coppersmith, at 200 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Among the economic impacts of gas lighting was much longer work hours in factories. This was particularly important in Great Britain during the winter months when nights are significantly longer. Factories could even work continuously over 24 hours, resulting in increased production.

In 1817, at the three stations of the Chartered Gas Company, 25 chaldrons (24 m³) of coal were carbonizeddaily, producing 300,000 cubic feet (8,500 m³) of gas. This supplied gas lamps equal to 75,000 Argand lamps each yielding the light of six candles. At the City Gas Works, in Dorset Street, Blackfriars, three chaldrons of coal were carbonized each day, providing the gas equivalent of 9,000 Argand lamps. So 28 chaldrons of coal were carbonized daily, and 84,000 lights supplied by those two companies only.

At this period the principal difficulty in gas manufacture was purification. Mr. D. Wilson, of Dublin, patented a method for purifying coal-gas by means of the chemical action of ammoniacal gas. Another plan was devised by Mr. Reuben Phillips, of Exeter, who patented the purification of coal-gas by the use of dry lime. Mr. G. Holworthy, in 1818, patented a method of purifying it by causing the gas, in a highly condensed state, to pass through iron retorts heated to a dark red.

By 1823, numerous towns and cities throughout Britain were lit by gas. Gaslight cost up to 75% less than oil lamps or candles, which helped to accelerate its development and deployment. By 1859, gas lighting was to be found all over Britain and about a thousand gas works had sprung up to meet the demand for the new fuel. The brighter lighting which gas provided allowed people to read more easily and for longer. This helped to stimulate literacy and learning, speeding up the second Industrial Revolution.

Oil-gas appeared in the field as a rival of coal-gas. In 1815, John Taylor patented an apparatus for the decomposition of "oil" and other animal substances. Public attention was attracted to "oil-gas" by the display of the patent apparatus at Apothecary's Hall, by Messrs. Taylor and Martineau.

In 1891, the invention of the gas mantle by the Austrian chemist Carl Auer von Welsbach eliminated the need for special illuminating gas, a synthetic mixture of hydrogen and hydrocarbon gases produced by destructive distillation of bituminous coal or peat, to get bright shining flames.

Illuminating gas was used for gas lighting, as it produces a much brighter light than natural gas or water gas. Illuminating gas was much less toxic than other forms of coal-gas, but less could be produced from a given quantity of coal. The experiments with distilling coal were described by John Clayton in 1684. George Dixon's pilot plant exploded in 1760, setting back the production of illuminating gas a few years. The first commercial application was in a Manchester cotton mill in 1806. In 1901, studies of thedefoliant effect of leaking gas pipes led to the discovery that ethylene is a plant hormone.

Throughout the 19th century and into the first decades of the 20th, the gas was manufactured by the gasification of coal. In the latter years of the nineteenth century, natural gas began to replace coal-gas, first in the US, and then in other parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, coal-gas was used until the early 1970s.