This fine lamp used to hang in Dudley Street.

By 1823 there were 40,000 gas street lamps, lighting 213 streets in London. 

In Wolverhampton gas installations continued, albeit on a smaller scale. On 8th January, 1823 the town’s theatre at the back of the Swan Inn, off High Green was converted to gas lighting and the company was paid £350 annually for the gas supplied to the street lamps, which were provided by the local authority. In 1826 this sum was increased to £420 for the two hundred lamps that were lit for 22 nights each month from the middle of September to the middle of April. The lamps were lit within half an hour of sunset until four o’clock in the morning. The lamps were not lit on 8 or so days each month because people were supposed to rely on light from the full or nearly full moon. No allowance was made for the weather or smoke from factory chimneys. These lighting times remained in use until 1834, after which the lamps were left on during the winter months until 7 a.m. for the arrival of the early mail and other coaches. By 1849 most of the streets in the town centre were lit by gas using a total 411 lamps and some of the more distant roads such as Penn Road and Tettenhall Road were also lit.

Many of the local towns were catered for, when an Act of Parliament was passed on 20th May, 1825 to allow the incorporation of the Staffordshire Gas Light Company, which supplied gas to Bilston, Darlaston, Handsworth, Walsall, Wednesbury, and West Bromwich. A large gas works was built for the purpose at West Bromwich.

During the 19th century gas production methods greatly improved and many new appliances were developed. In 1824 Tate invented the telescopic gasometer, which enabled gas works to supply gas at a fairly steady rate regardless of demand. The gasometers had several "lifts" or tiers, floating in a bath of water. As gas was pumped in, the gasometer would rise and then slowly fall as the gas was used. The tiers initially rose vertically but were later spirally guided. The first experimental gas cooker was developed by James Sharp in 1826 and in 1855 Pettit and Smith developed the first practical gas fire.

A close-up of the lamp above.

This lamp was on the corner of Lich Gates before Lichfield Street was redeveloped in the early 1880s.

As demand grew more efficient production methods followed. Automatic stoking machines for the retorts were first used in 1868 and gravity fed, inclined retorts were developed in 1885 by Andre Coze. Vertical retorts were invented in 1900 which were cleaner, more efficient and more compact than the older types.

Prepayment gas meters were invented in 1870 by T.S. Lacey. 

Gas mantles appeared in 1887. The early mantles were not very efficient and were extremely fragile. They cost 5 shillings and the whole burner had to be sent back to the manufacturer when a new mantle was needed. In 1897 a more efficient and reliable incandescent mantle was developed by Carl Auer.

The early low pressure gas mains made from cast iron, were gradually replaced by networks of long distance medium pressure mains, often using new materials such as tin plate, wrapped in hessian and steel. 

The long distance mains were made possible by the building of local gasometer stations.

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