Hand coloured engraving by Isaac Cruikshank (1756-1811) satirising gas 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. The acrobat shown here wearing a three-cornered hat represents Winsor, surrounded by people coughing and complaining that they cannot breathe. Initially, the use of gas was unpopular with the general public, due to its unpleasant smell.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library