'A Peep at the Gas Lights in Pall Mall', London, 1807.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured engraving by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) after a drawing by George Moutard Woodward (1760-1809). A caricature of the reactions to the installation of the new invention of gas lighting on Pall Mall, London. A well informed gentleman, an Irishman, a rustic bumpkin, a Quaker and a shady male and female exclaim the merits, and downfalls of street lighting. The three flame 'cockspur lamp' system appeared for the first time in 1807, in Pall Mall and later Golden Lane, London and was introduced and promoted by the German, Frederick Albert Winsor (d 1830), who founded the world's first gas company. Prior to this, streets were lit with oil lamps. Initially, the use of gas was unpopular with the general public, due to its unpleasant smell.