Profile America: Gas Lights America

GAS LIGHTING


Profile America —  It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Nearly 200 years ago, it was even better to light a gas lamp. On this date in 1817, America’s first gas streetlamp was lit in Baltimore, Maryland. The coal gas was supplied by the nation’s first incorporated gas company. Just like today, startups have their struggles, but by 1850, about 50 urban areas had gasworks for mostly municipal and business illumination, along with some private residences. While gas lamps today are mostly confined to elegant accent lighting, natural gas itself is a huge energy source in America, heating over 48 percent of the nation’s households.

After two to five days of hydraulic fracturing, a well can supply natural gas for 20 to 40 years.

There are over 2,500 natural gas distribution establishments serving consumers and other users in the U.S., with annual revenues of around $90 billion.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau

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