The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit TUESDAY JUNE 18, 1889. THE NEW ILLUMINANT
Ab a rule the large towns of New Zealand are fairly well lighted with gas, but the smaller towns have much to complain of respecting the purity and illuminating power — or rather the want of both — of the gas supplied. At Wanganui the Municipal Council has succeeded m extorting concessions from the Gas Company, butvwe hare not heard tbat any improvement m the light is included. In Ashburtonthe gas has all the faults which other towns have complained bo loudly of — bad light, great impurity and high price, fctill we suffer, and though individual grumbling is loud enough there is no united complaint. Kecent news gives ft gleam of hope that the night may not be far, distant when our nocturnal labors may be conducted m such a light as seems utterly beyond the power oi exiating gas companies to provide, while the cost will be lar lorfer than that of coal gas. The new light is called " water gas," Its manner of production has long been " kuown, though it is only lately that the knowledge has been turned to practical value. The scientific theory of producing the water gas is by blowing water, m the form of steam, through incandescent fuel. This separates the combustible parts of (he water— which amount to 95 per cent of its compesition — and after a purifying process this combustible material is conducted ordinary pipes to the burners, where it is discharged upon a magneßia comb. With a consumption of five feet an hour a light of 22 candles is given. The light is extremely white and pleasant to work by, and the vapours emitted by its combustion are perfectly innocuous. It is said that the gas costs lor manufacture m England about 4£d per 1000 feet. Here the price ot coal and labor would p/obably double that cost, besides the cost of fixtures, 'ike process of manu iacture has undergone great improvements lately, and the gas has come into use m many large establishments m England^. In the works of the Leeds J?orge Company, the gas is used not only for lighting but lor heating metals for welding and smelting, and its use is computed* by the manager to effect a saving of £10,000 a year, A successful trial of the gas has been made m /Sydney within the last few days, and the cable, informs us that tbe syndicate which is introducing it there will extend its operations to New Zealand at an early date. We hope soon to become acquainted with this valuable light, which, if it be nearly all lhat is claimed for it, will deprive working by artificial light of much of its discomfort, lias companies cannot afford m these days ! to ignore the progress of science. They have too long fattened upon what has been practically a monopoly, and have used their power to discourage inventions for the improvement of lighting. The progress of science cannot, however, be for ever stopped, and unless gas companies or corporations march with the times they will find themselves left 1 behind, with obsolete appliances and empty pockets.