Lucas Gas Lamp, 1905

As darker nights approached in October 1905, the Blantyre Gas Company at Stonefield Road (where Lethams Garage would later be), took opportunity to showcase a new type of gas light. A solitary, column around 20 feet high was erected on the pavement outside the gas works, which was attracting attention at night.

The new Lucas Gas Lamp had a brilliant, different type of light, which could be seen from a considerable distance and this single lamp post was clearly a demonstration in defiance of rumoured new electric lighting arriving soon in Blantyre. However, the brilliance of this light, was not the talking point, as crowds of onlookers stood around it. No, instead, it was the cost of gas which was making headlines. To consumers, it mattered not whether Blantyre was lit by electricity or gas. It was the cost of doing so which was important. If this new Lucas Lamp was going to be the way forward for the public, then the Gas Company ought to be focusing on what really matters and making it clear as to the cost of the proposal.

Background: Joseph Lucas began in the early 1860s as a dealer in paraffin oil for domestic lamps from a barrow cart around the streets of Hockley and soon saw potential to expand into the transport market. Joseph Lucas died in 1902 to be succeeded by his son, Harry, as Chairman. Harry was able to take full advantage of the automotive boom and began producing oil lamps for motor-cars, and this lamp discussed in the article. However gas and paraffin were destined to be beaten by cheaper and safer electric lighting.

As early as 1910 Lucas were producing electric car lamps but it would be a few more years before technological developments helped increase their popularity. Their focus was on the car industry and in the 1960s, this long standing company began producing fully sealed headlights. Even today, a derivative of the company, ELTA Automotive is proud to be the official Lucas Licensee for Driving Vision and Switchgear throughout the UK and Europe

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