By Wolfgang Schivelbusch
This article tells the tale of the improvement of man-made mild within the nineteenth century. The booklet unearths the ways in which the expertise of synthetic gentle helped forge glossy recognition. It discusses such themes because the political symbolism of road lights and the increase of nightlife.
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Extra info for Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century
Gas lighting could draw on a development that had taken place in its own history. Long before Auer von Welsbach constructed the incandescent mantle, the technical principle was known. Drummond's 'limelight', which had been used to achieve special lighting effects on the stage since about 1830, consisted of a piece of lime that was heated by a hydrogen flame until it glowed, emitting an intense light. But gas lighting needed the successful example of electric indandescent light to push it onto this path.
Early electric switches were turned, and the were placed on each mdividual light. Actual switches and the ability to tu:n hghts on at a distance are much later developments. (Source: A. rst in La Lumiere electrique) The enthusiasm with which electric light was hailed in the late nineteenth century is in many respects reminiscent of the reaction evoked by gas lighting seventy years earlier. In their time, both innovations were regarded as the most modern, the brightest, cleanest and most economical form of lighting; in both cases, their industrial nature was obvious; and finally, electric light seemed to be nothing other than an imitation of the system of gas lighting.
107 The electric switch is progress over the gas-tap in that it is turned on and off in one movement. ' 109 The novelty of switches stimulated people's imagination; as we can see, in the above example it is not simply one room, but the whole house that is suddenly bathed in light. And the author immediately goes on to describe a lighting system that switches itself on and off automatically: 'Is it too much trouble to press a button or operate a revolving switch? Well then, you open the door of your hall, and the light goes on by itself.
Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century by Wolfgang Schivelbusch