|Strange but true!|
Some less well known facts about gas.
Party Trick. Reverend John Clayton, 1684, made gas from coal and stored it in pigskin bladders. Guests were invited to prick the bladders and light the escaping gas to give a gas light. (Definitely not to be tried at home!)|
Gasholders. Some feared that gas in holders was unsafe. In order to show that such fears were unfounded, Samuel Clegg, in 1814 took a workmans pick and punched a hole in the side of a gasholder and lit the escaping gas. As Clegg knew, gas will not explode unless it is mixed with air in the right proportions. Still, some Councils insisted that gasholders be placed inside brick buildings for safety, not realising that an explosion between holder and building (where gas and air could mix to explosive proportions) could turn every brick into a missile.
The first Disco? In 1922 Jack Kitchen developed the 'Flamephone' a sound device which used gas burners to enhance the volume and clarity of sound and also produce spectacular optical effects.
Kill or Cure? In 1855 a newspaper reported that "Great numbers of children labouring under whooping cough now visit the gas works for the purpose of breathing in the exhalations from the gas-lime. It is said that the little sufferers are considerably relieved and many are absolutely cured by this simple remedy" In fact the smell, a mixture of moth balls and bad eggs was so bad the city of York forbade the transport of gas-lime through the streets after 12 noon.
First Traffic Lights The world's first traffic lights were installed in New Palace Yard, London in 1868 (before the first motor car). At night a revolving lantern showed a red or green light in turn. The lantern was operated by a policemen with a lever but he was injured in an explosion in 1869. The lights operated until 1872.
Take my breath away! In the New Opera House, Paris in 1878 there were 9,200 naked flame gas lights (mantles were not yet invented). The 25 kms of pipe were controlled by 714 gas taps and the chandelier in the foyer had 556 burners all burning up the oxygen.
Moonshine In 1858 the Washington USA Gas Company recommended filling wet meters with whisky - 1.5 gallons in the smallest meter! as the more usual water froze in winter and cracked the meter.