General Question

Unexpected_Rain's avatar

How did the Victorians extract gas?

Asked by Unexpected_Rain (357 points ) June 24th, 2011

During the Victorian era gas-lighting was pretty widely used, I was wondering how they extracted the gas and from what source?

Any info. or useful site links are most appreciated.

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6 Answers

Stinley's avatar

It came from coal that was heated to release the gas. Originally mansions and large estate had their own gas house where they made the gas. It wasn’t till later that gas was centrally piped. I visited this place a while ago

jaytkay's avatar

In old pictures of cities, you often see gasometers (storage tanks) for coal gas. They were known to stink up a neighborhood.

Here are a couple in Manhattan , the black tanks below the white building, near the 59th St bridge.

That is a detail from this wonderful 1932 photo. (click on ‘View full size’ for the full effect).

Stinley's avatar

Here’s a gas tank on Google Street View I remember it from my childhood but I think it is still in use. It would be used for storing natural gas for use in peak times. You can see how the top can go up and down as the gas is used/replaced

who would have thought that my childhood fascination with this gas tank would have proved useful!

Unexpected_Rain's avatar

Thanks everybody, You have all been awesomely helpful!

whitenoise's avatar

During the second world war, when petrol was extremely hard to get in holland, (some) people would build installations to harvest gas from coal and wood and built that onto their cars.

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