Introduction to Street Lamps
Street lamps are of course the root product of William Sugg & Co. From the founding of the Company, lighting the streets by gas was the primary aim. Until the concept of gas for lighting, the only light available in the streets at night was either moonlight, burning wood or tarred material in beacons or cressets and candles or oil lamps. As villages grew into towns and towns into cities so the need for extending the activities of the day, especially as the days shortened into winter, became steadily more significant. Whilst a village might simply ‘hibernate’ as the days grew shorter and the tasks on the land reduced, the cities needed to keep going as the tasks became less and less directly associated with the land.
The word ‘lantern’ is a corruption or development of the word ‘lanthorn’ which described the transparent material made from horn which provided the earliest form of glazing. ‘Lantern’ is also the correct name for what is however commonly known as a gas ‘lamp’. (In modern parlance a ‘lamp’ is a light bulb and the structure or container in which a lamp is located is a ‘luminaire’.)
The lantern section has been broken down into:
‘Early Lamps‘ which are really developments of the oil lamp – and how they were improved. At this stage all the ‘lamps’ will have open flame burners.
‘Large Lanterns‘ illustrates how the demand for improved illumination led to the development of the truly large lantern, made as such to provide sufficient space and ventilation for the large open flame burners necessary to achieve the required level of lighting.
The famous and surely iconic ‘Windsor Lamp‘, recognised and reproduced all over the world, was the first lantern developed by William Sugg in 1898 specifically for the incandescent mantle burner and is joined by a range of decorative lanterns developed for the gas mantle, several surviving to the present day. Many of these lanterns have taken on the title of ‘heritage’ or ‘traditional’ lanterns and have come fully up to date with high performance electrical light sources. I feel sure William Sugg would have been impressed!
The ‘Rochester & Littleton‘ ‘Shadowless’ type of fixture sold in huge numbers in the first half of the 20th century and have also become the iconic shape of ‘modern’ heritage electric street lights into the 21st century. They are also very familiar to enthusiasts of preserved railways.
The 8000 Lamp was developed to replace the ‘old’ lanterns with a scientifically designed ‘modern’ economical fixture with the highest efficiency that could be achieved using conventional low pressure mantles.
The London & the Southport Street Lamps show the development of high performance multiple burners and the rectangular ‘Supervia’ mantle adaptation.
Special Street Lamps
There are special street lamps that have been designed frequently for Royal premises that don’t fit into any of the previous categories and have often survived a very long time, so here is a section for specials.