History of Gas

If you want to know more about the history of gas (whether it be for a school project, pub quiz or to expand your knowledge on facts), you’ve come to the right place.

Keep reading and you will learn all about when gas was first discovered, up to the 1997.

1667 Thomas Shirley described an inflammable gas seeping from coal measures, near Wigan.

1684 – John Clayton produced coal gas from the destructive distillation of coal, and stored it in bladders.

1727 – Carlisle Spedding lit his office at Whitehaven colliery with methane, from his coal mine.

1792 – William Murdoch lit his house at Redruth, Cornwall by gas produced in an iron retort.

1801 – In Paris Philippe Lebon publicly demonstrated gas lighting.

1806 – Gas lighting was installed in cotton spinning mills by Samuel Clegg (Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire) and William              Murdoch (Manchester)

1807 – Frederick Winsor demonstrated gas street lighting in Pall Mall, London.

1807 – London’s Golden Lane was lit by gas which was produced at a nearby brewery.

1814 – Frederick Accum wrote the first authoritative text book on gas manufacturing.

1817 – Samuel Clegg developed the gas meter.

1824 – Tate invented the telescopic gasholder.

1826 – James Sharp installed an experimental gas cooker at his house, in Northampton.

1855 – Robert Bunsen invented the Bunsen burner.

1856 – The first practical gas fire was produced by Pettit and Smith.

1870 – T S Lacey patented the first prepayment gas meter.

1887 – The glowing gas mantle was invented by Carl Auer.

1923 – Thermostatic controls on gas ovens were introduced.

1949 – Nationalisation of the gas industry.

1953 – Gas was first manufactured from oil, in reformer plants.

1964 – First shipment of natural gas from Algeria arrived in Britain.

1965 – North sea gas was discovered in the West Sole field.

1968 – Natural gas conversion programme starts at Burton on Trent.

1976 – Natural gas conversion programme completed.

1986 – Privatisation of the gas industry, creating British Gas plc.

1997 – British gas plc split into Centrica and BG Group.

Information supplied courtesy of The National Gas Museum.