Friday, June 12, 2009

Like a moth to a flame….

 Gas lamp in Wisteria, Willow walk, Cambridge, England

I am COMPLETELY smitten with gas lanterns.



There is no artificial light, to my knowledge, that can match their beautiful soft glow. 



In the late eighteenth century in England, a man by the name of William Murdoch was the first to use gas as a means to power  lighting in his home.   Twenty years or so later, the first public street lighting with gas took place in Pall Mall, London.  In 1812, Parliament granted a charter to the London and Westminster Gas Light and Coke Company, and the first gas company in the world was formed.  The new technology quickly spread to other countries, including the United States.  The first private residence in the U.S. to be illuminated by gas light was in Philadelphia.



In the early 20th century, most cities in the United States and Europe had gas lit streets. However, gas street lighting soon gave way to electric lighting. Small incandescent electric lamps began to replace gas lights in homes in the late 19th century, although the transition took decades to complete.



Gas lighting has not entirely disappeared  from some cities.  In the United States, Cincinnati still uses gaslight in many of its residential neighborhoods, as do parts of the famed French Quarter in New Orleans.   A number of areas in Atlanta as well as Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, have also retained these charming features.


new orleans

Gas lighting is also seeing a resurgence in the luxury home market for homeowners in search of historical accuracy and ambiance.



From Southern Accents, these lanterns are from Bevolo lighting.



Here, a new home gets some historical credibility from the gorgeous Royal Sonesta lantern also from Bevolo.


royal sonesta from bevolo

The same lantern in a public location….


A post mounted lantern I spotted in Buckhead, in the process of being cleaned by the window cleaning crew.



I’ll bet these lights really sparkle during the holidays!


french quarter brackets bevolo

I think gas lamps would be an incredible addition to an outdoor kitchen/dining area!


nashville mary spalding 

And look what I just found in the June ‘09 issue of Veranda!  Nashville designer and antiques dealer, Mary Spalding, used these gorgeous fixtures on the patio in her own home.


july aug veranda cropped

Maybe your pool house needs some night lights….

(Cover July/Aug 2009 Veranda.)



Another stately home in Buckhead.  Gas lights always remain “on” but can barely be seen during daylight.


There are a number of companies manufacturing gas lamps today.  Many of these fixtures can be configured for gas or electric.  Below  are a few that caught my eye….

english regency from bevolo 

The English Regency from Bevolo


williamsburg bevolo

Similar but less ornate, the Williamsburg, also from Bevolo.


Traditional cl

From Carolina Lanterns, the Traditional with a natural copper patina.  (Gotta love patina!)


montreal CL

Also from Carolina Lanterns, The Montreal.

This is just a small sampling of the styles offered by these manufacturers. There are many, many more styles available, from Gothic to Tuscan. 

The only drawback I’ve found to this type of lighting is the operating cost.  From what I’ve read, it can be a bit pricey, depending on your natural gas provider—running between 10 to 20 dollars per fixture, per month.  Oh well, who ever said beauty doesn’t come at a price?  I think they’re totally worth it!

I live in such an historic area of California, yet I can’t remember ever seeing gas fueled lights here.  Anybody know why?! 

If anybody wants to be a trendsetter on the west coast, here’s your chance.  I’ve been dying to find a project to use these on!  (Northern California, are you listening?)


  1. What a gorgeous, gorgeous post - maybe because I am a total devotee to gas lanterns! Some of your pictures are from Atlanta - I could tell you at least 20 houses off the top of my head that have real gas lanterns. It is definitely a look that is much admired in the high end homes in town.

  2. Suzanne,

    I loved this post. I've got to pick up the new Veranda for this month. You are doing such an awesome job with the blogspot. I think you may get picked up by a magazine as a regular. If not you should. I loved seeing the lanterns. Who wouldn't want one.

    Take care,



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