Lighting up Britain

October 1880

The electric light is making progress that is all the more sure because it appears to have outgrown the sensational stage. Inventors have discovered that there is no royal road to fortune in electric lighting, any more than in any other matter that requires long and patient study. Instead they have betaken themselves to the wiser effort of improving working details.

Scientific theory is undergoing a gradual change and things once regarded as mathematically impossible are now, at all events, transferred to the alembic of experiment. It is certain that we are a long way from having arrived at an exhaustive knowledge of the phenomena of the transmission of the electric current. Another point of no small importance is the observation of the difference between intensity of light and useful illumative power. This difference, which at first was almost entirely overlooked, at all events by the public, has been happily compared by Mr Barlow, in his inaugural address as president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, to the difference between specific gravity and weight.

The latest improvement in the lamp, candle, regulator, or by whatever name the radiant focus employed by for the production of the electric light may be termed is that of Monsieur Jamin.

M Jamin uses parallel carbon rods, so arranged as for the combustion at the lower extremity and travel upwards. This indeed was effected by William Staite and William Edwards in 1846, the carbons being made to approach one another in the form of a V, but the Jamin regulator seems to take us a step further.