|Gas Distribution and Storage|
|Up to the end of the 18th century, companies which used gas lighting manufactured it themselves in small individual gasworks. A German, Friedrich Winzer, who came to England in 1802, pioneered the idea of distributing gas in mains from large central gasworks. The first distribution main was laid in Pall Mall, London in 1807 and in 1814 gas lighting in the parish of St Margarets, Westminster burned gas produced at a works in Great Peters Street and supplied through 26 miles of mains laid under the streets.|
As the gas industry developed, many of the small gas companies grouped into larger companies and bigger, better gasworks were built. The low pressure local gas mains, usually made from cast iron were gradually linked by networks of medium pressure long distance mains. As the distances over which gas was distributed grew, local gas holder stations, where the gas could be stored until it was needed, were set up.
Early gasholders were marked on the outside so that the volume of gas in them could be calculated and because of this they were known as gasometers. (See Gasholders)
The popularity of gas grew in the 19th century and the business of distribution grew with it. New materials were used to build the gas mains; tin plate wrapped in hessian, cast iron and steel.
When natural gas came in the 1960s a national network of mains or grid system was needed to distribute it throughout the country, 3,000 miles of high pressure gas pipelines were buried beneath the countryside to carry the vast amounts of energy swiftly and silently from the coastal stations to the governor stations where the pressure is reduced before the gas reaches the customers. All that can be seen of this today are the small markers which trace the pipeline across the countryside.
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