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Electric Versus Gas Lighting

Nature volume 42, pages 145146 | Download Citation



IN this, the second edition of this pamphlet, a comparison is made between the prices of lighting by electricity and gas at Milan, Rome, Paris, Tours, Manosque, Perpignan, Marseilles, and New York. In Milan, the electric energy is either charged for by a fixed rate per lamp per year, plus a payment for each hour during which the lamp is turned on (the fixed annual rate and the hourly payment depending on whether the lamps be of 10 or of 16 candles), or the payment may be made to depend entirely on the consumption. In the latter case, however, the hourly payment per lamp diminishes with the number of lamps employed in the building, the rate per hour varying from 6 centimes for a 10-candle lamp if there be not more than 40 lamps, to 3¾ centimes per 10-candle lamp if the number exceed 151. The incandescent lamps at Milan appear to require 6 watts per candle, and are therefore evidently specimens of the old Edison lamp; at the present day, however, there are lamps that can be incandesced with 40 per cent, less power, and still have a long life. In comparing the price of lighting by electricity and gas, M. Couture assumes that one Bengel gas-burner consuming 105 litres of gas per hour gives 10 candles. This is equivalent to 5˙9 cubic feet per hour for 16 candles. Now a good Argand burner with London gas will give 16 candles for a consumption of 5 cubic feet per hour, whereas a common burner will not give more than 5 or 8 candles. M. Couture's typical burner and the Milan gas must therefore be good, whereas, as already mentioned, the incandescent lamps employed in Milan must be of an old character. Nevertheless, since electric lighting is supplied at 9 centimes per hour for a 16-candle lamp, and at 5˙6 centimes (or about one halfpenny) in buildings using many lamps, the Milan Gas Company thought it wise to drop their price from 36 to 25 centimes per cubic metre of gas in the regions of the town supplied with electricity. For the benefit of readers who may study the copious information contained in this French treatise, we may mention that the London price of 2s. 6d. per 1000 cubic feet of gas is equivalent to almost exactly one penny per cubic metre.

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