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Lighting is now one of life’s necessities, and our modern lives would not be possible without the cheap electric lights, LED strip lights that we fill our homes, streets, workplaces, restaurants, theatres, stores and everything in between.

Any lighting that was used prior to 1775, particularly in the period between 1700 and 1775 was made up of candles, torches, lamps, and candles for burning in lamps. Throughout the 17th and 18th century, lamps were primarily the same lighting that was used in Roman homes. Apart from the incredibly wealthy, or those living in places where fuel might be abundant, light was highly precious and was used sparingly. During the 17th century, citizens in some districts were required to keep lit candles on their street-facing sills when it was night. These were then eventually replaced by street lamps which were funded and maintained by municipalities and paid for by taxes. The timers which were set for lighting the lanterns, fuelled by oil which were tended to by lamplighters, varied with the season and the phases of the moon, and the light they gave was very dim and inconsistent.

Although oil street lamps did begin to open up the city evenings, the confinement of the dark nights would begin to lift in the 19th century. It was in the 19th century when gaslight arrived, first in the wealthier residential and commercial areas of London. As Gas, then was a byproduct of coal, and a system of pipes then linked large gasworks and storage tanks to customers. This interconnected system meant that the brilliance of a neighbourhood lit by gas increased and gas brought more than brilliance. By the mid-19th century gas began to light Paris, New York as well as other major cities in Europe.

At this time the streets had also begun to be illuminated by electric lighting, which was first successfully demonstrated by Humphry Davy with incandescent light but it wasn’t until, Thomas Edison in 1879 who created the first commercially practical incandescent lamp. This new lighting first lit up factories, commercial districts, and the homes of the wealthy. It did remain a luxury for most home owners until electric lines began to arrive in middle-class and working class neighbourhoods during the first decades of the 20th century. Now LEDs are the future of lighting, not only are they economically friendly they last a great deal longer than their predecessors.