The incandescent gas lamp was invented in 1885, and it was popular
until the 1920s when most places had electric lighting. This lamp
may have illuminated a room, a shop, an office or a public place
like a station waiting room. When lit, it gave a brilliant white
'incandescent' light. This light was brighter than any gaslight
seen before. Ordinary gas lamps in the 19th century gave out a weak
This light is made of:
Ceiling fixture. A
round plate with small holes for screws to attach it to the
ceiling. It was often hidden in plaster decorations on the ceiling,
with ventilation holes.
Rod. A brass and copper rod hung down from the
ceiling. The gas came from the mains supply and travelled down
through the rod to the mantle.
Lever cock. A bar is attached near the top of the
rod. It was a mechanism for turning the gas supply on and off.
Two chains made of metal links and hang from
either side of the lever.
Tablets. Each chain has a brass tab on the bottom.
One has 'ON' stamped out of the metal above the ring pull and the
other has 'OFF.'
Mantle. A roll of cloth was attached to the gas
burner and impregnated with chemical salts so that the mantle gave
off a brilliant white light when it burned. Mantles had to be
replaced frequently. (This is not the original mantle.)
Globe. The round lampshade made of clear
Globe gallery. The metal frame at the bottom of
the rod that holds the glass shade in place.
To turn on the lamp the person pulled the 'ON' tab and chain. This
pulled the lever down on the right and opened the gas supply to the
lamp. Then the person put a taper or candle to the mantle and held
it there for several seconds. The cotton or silk burned away and
the chemical salts glowed brightly. Then the mantle was lit and
gave out a strong light. To turn it off the person pulled the 'OFF'
tab. This moved the lever down on the left, closing the gas supply,
and turning the light off.