Profile America: Gas Lighting

Wednesday, February 7th. It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Two-hundred and two years ago, it was even better to light a gas lamp. On this date in 1816, America’s first gas streetlamp glowed 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. There are nearly 2,600 natural gas distribution establishments, with annual revenues of around $90 billion.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online here.

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