Lampshades initially debuted in the 18th century in Paris. As street lamps began to line the streets of the French capital, fittings were installed such that the gas-lit lanterns would beam downward, producing pools of lighting in otherwise black streets. These fixtures needed new covers each time they were lit because the caging around the glass globe allowed light to escape but not smoke.
In 1770, Georges Jacob obtained a patent for his "artificial candle" which was actually a small lamp fitted with a glass chimney through which air was blown. The flame produced heat that was transmitted through the metal base to the bulb inside the casing. This device could be locked in an upright position so that it gave off constant light throughout the night.
These developments led directly to the creation of lamp shades. In fact, one of Jacob's assistants filed a patent in 1771 for a "cover for candles or lamps" that included designs for several types of shadings that are still in use today.
One reason why people liked these shaded lights is that they did not have to worry about burns from the hot wax or tallow used in their construction. Another is that they provided better ventilation than unshaded candles or oil lamps. A third advantage is that they eliminated the need to burn regular candles during the day while allowing far-reaching illumination at night.
Paris was the first city in the world to install electric lighting. In 1878, its arc lighting, also known as Yablochkov candles, were installed. These were made of brass and used coal gas for fuel. They were able to produce a very bright light but were expensive to operate and were prone to damage from weather conditions.
City officials decided to replace the coal gas with electricity as it was believed this would be more efficient and less costly to operate. On August 1st, 1879, the first electric lights in Paris went on display in the Rue de Rivoli. The inventor of the system used copper wires attached to metal sockets mounted on a wooden board. He licensed the technology to several manufacturers who produced their own versions of the lamp. This industry standard version has not changed much over time: it consists of a bowl-shaped glass globe with a wire mesh base coated with phosphorescent material. It fits into a metal socket mounted on a wood or metal pole.
The first streetlights in Paris operated from carbon arc lamps which use hydrogen and oxygen instead of oil to combust a filament connected to a heated carbon rod. The hot filament emits light when it is exposed to an electrical current. Carbon arc lamps are extremely efficient sources of light because they use heat rather than electrical resistance to emit light.
The discovery of lanterns with glass panes, which substantially boosted the quantity of light, hastened the development of public street lighting in the 1500s. The Parisian Parlement decided in 1588 that a torch be erected and illuminated at each crossroads, and the police modified this to lanterns in 1594. This is probably when street lighting became common.
Lanterns were expensive to make and maintain and so city governments began to hire private companies to provide continuous light for roads and streets. This is how public street lighting really took off in Europe.
In America, urban areas followed suit from the beginning. Boston's streets were lit as early as 1723 and Philadelphia's streets received torches in 1752. Urban areas in the South did not adopt electric lights until after World War II. Before then, most houses had lamps on their front porches that needed to be changed every few months because electricity was not reliable enough for night-time use.
Electric lights have many advantages over traditional gas or oil lamps: they are more efficient, less prone to fire, and can be controlled from a distance via electrical signals. They also have several minor drawbacks such as being sensitive to heat and insects. But overall they have revolutionized the way we live today by allowing us to walk home at night, travel during the day without worrying about darkness, and explore unknown areas.
And they haven't stopped yet!
Arc lights, namely the "Yablochkov candle," were utilized in the first electric streetlight. It was originally used in Paris in 1878. By 1881, over 4000 had been installed, replacing gas lamps on poles. By 1890, there were more than 130,000 arc lamps placed as streetlights in the United States after the proliferation of arc lamps. The Yablochkov candle consisted of a carbon filament attached to two arms extending from a central hub. Current from an electrical generator would spin the hub, powering the arc lamp.
The electric lightbulb made from German inventor Thomas Edison's own design has become a standard part of our environment. It replaced the arc lamp that had been used previously and continues to be used today in many areas where there is not enough sunlight for conventional lighting technologies to function efficiently.
Edison's first public demonstration of his light bulb took place on August 7, 1879, at the New York Electrical Exhibition. He showed how it could be connected to a power source either by a wire running directly into the wall cavity or through a local electricity provider. The light bulb became commercially available in 1882 at a price of $10 per bulb. This initially proved too expensive for widespread use but by 1889, less expensive carbonized cotton and then filamentous zinc wires were developed which reduced the cost dramatically.
Lamplighter Gas lamps were initially put in the gloomy, foggy streets of London and other towns in the early nineteenth century, primarily as a safety measure. Someone has to turn on these gas lighting at night and turn them off in the morning. As a result, the job of "lamplighter" was formed. These individuals walked through the city streets with a large iron rod called a "lampholder" that held the lamp above their head.
Lamplighters were usually members of the working class who lived in urban areas near where they worked. They tended to be young men between the ages of 15 and 35. The job was not very demanding; someone had to keep watch for traffic and alert people if there was any danger from pedestrians or vehicles. However, because lamplighters had full control over the location and amount of light in their area, they could easily cause trouble by turning off their lights in order to scare people or to take advantage of an empty street after dark.
These incidents caused many complaints from residents who needed to move about at night safely. As a result, cities around the world created official positions for people to work as lamplighters. In London, for example, the job was given to young men aged 14 or older who were chosen by local authorities. They were paid a small salary and a candlemaker for life. When the candlemaker died, his replacement received this honor.
The streets of Paris were lighted for the first time in 1524, when an ordinance mandated that all residences facing the streets have light in their windows at night. Another way for lighting up the streets at night was the use of "link-boys," minor attendants who were hired by rich Londoners to carry torches while accompanying them...
...In 1784, following a severe fire that destroyed a large part of the city, French law required all public buildings to be lit up at night. The fire had started in a workshop where fireworks were made; the owner of the shop didn't have enough money to pay the bill so he threw some fireworks into his garden shed. The next morning the whole house block was burned down.
To save money, they decided to just illuminate the streets instead of buying new lamps for the city. This only lasted for about 10 years because there were too many accidents happening due to poor street lighting. In 1834, Paris got new street lamps which were designed by Eugène Beaupere and are still in use today.
You may wonder why Paris started this tradition and what purpose did it serve. The reason is because in those days, people used to rob travelers if they weren't protected by light. With lights coming from every window, it would be hard for thieves to break in and steal things. Also, with more visible people walking around at night, it gave rise to safer neighborhoods.