In our modern age, it can be difficult to remember that most of human history existed without indoor lighting. Many of us take the ability to flip on a switch and immediately have the ability to read or work for granted. In previous eras, the workday began with the sunrise, and had to end with sunset – there was no other way around it, since it was impossible to see well enough to continue the day’s task.
But even after the advent of electricity, the form of this technology has changed a great deal. The lighting we use today differs greatly in appearance and function since the electricity our grandparents used. Even in our own lifetimes, there have been many changes.
Long before gas and electric lighting, indoor lighting was done using fire in grates. The hearth was the center of home activity, with candlelight providing dim lighting elsewhere in the house. But if one moved away from the hearth and didn’t have a candle, they wouldn’t be able to see much at all.
Candles were often made from beeswax, but only the wealthy could afford them. Lower social classes had candles of lesser quality. They were made from animal fat. This often smelled bad and didn’t provide much in the way of good quality light. Additionally, they only burned for an hour or so.
The lighting industry began at an industrial level in the latter part of the 1800s. Starting with the advent of street lamps that relied on gas. This paved the way for more lucrative lighting. Though the average person did not have electric home lighting until the mid-19th century. Until then, gas lighting became more common among the upper and middle classes. Though immensely useful, these lights did not come without risks. Fumes, smoke, blackened walls, and the occasional explosion made them a light source to be used with extreme caution.
By the 1860s, arc lights could illuminate large areas, both in cities and in fields. This encouraged laborers to continue their work into the night instead of heading home by nightfall. The circadian rhythm that humans developed made us completely dependent on natural light. However, it started to fade away when artificial light became more common.
By the 1930s, most urban homes had electricity. However, it took a bit longer for electric lighting to make it to the rest of the country. Electricity was far cleaner and more convenient than gas lighting, and a sign toward moving into the modern progressive age. Families aspired to have electric home lighting. It was a way to mark a point of “arriving” in terms of social class and status.
Today, just about every home in America has electricity, whether wealthy or not. It’s easier and more high-tech than it’s ever been, with lights being turned on by voice or timed settings. As more companies become “greener” for the sake of the environment, energy-conserving LED bulbs are available. These energy-saving alternatives save homeowners money without decreasing light quality.
Whether you need new lighting fixtures installed or need repairs, call Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric! Our team is here for all your indoor lighting needs. Our electrical services have been trusted by the residents of South Florida since 1983. Our electricians are highly trained to handle even the most complex projects. Moreover, they’re well equipped to meet your electrical issues with practical solutions.
For questions about our commercial and residential services, give us a call at 561-391-1048 today!