AN ENVIABLE PROVENANCE

Established in 1837, Sugg Lighting is renowned as the leading name in decorative and heritage lighting. Ornate Sugg Lighting columns and decorative lanterns now adorn numerous thoroughfares, prestigious buildings and parks across the world, with many nineteenth century installations continuing to survive in excellent working order today.

The historic skills and traditions behind this unique pedigree remain the cornerstone of the Sugg Lighting success story. Using the techniques of our craftsmen handed down through the generations, the same materials and even some of the original tooling from those early days, Sugg Lighting continues to set the highest standards in the manufacture, reproduction, refurbishment or refit of heritage lighting projects across the globe. By embracing modern lamp technology and electronics, including LED, the company provides an authentic luminaire with an outstanding performance that belies its historic appearance, providing economic performance solutions for modern day requirements, which applies to both interior and exterior projects.

THE EARLY ORIGINS OF GAS FOR LIGHTING

It is recorded that the Chinese utilised natural gas discharges from the earth as Temple fires and stored the fuel in animal Skins for heating and lighting from the earliest scripted visits by European travellers to the Orient. In Europe the distillation of carbonaceous deposits initially to produce tar oils, also revealed to some experimenters the presence of a ‘vapour from coal’, which when ignited produced an illuminating flame. Experiments by Dr. Clayton in 1688, (but only recorded by the Royal Society in 1739) detailed the properties of coal gas, but surprisingly he and fellow chemists failed apparently to realise the potential economic use of the gas for illumination. Much of the recorded data through the turn of the 18th and 19th century rests upon the exuberant, although not always accurate claims of the German F.A. Winsor who indeed undertook highly publicised schemes in London and variously tempted to solicit finance by considerable exaggerated claims and allay fears with dubious articles of assurance to prospective users. Apart from these personalities directly referred to, the early 19th century saw many people pioneering similar courses in the exploitation of gas produced from coal, wood and/or oil, all primarily seeking to use this resource as a fuel-stock for illumination and thus indicating the limited darkness hour existence to which the population must then have been subject.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF GAS LIGHTING BURNERS

The very earliest gas burners were simply holes introduced into the gas storage containers which were normally animal skins or bladders’. The extension of this was to feed the gas through tubes of metal or fireclay with either a single flame at the tubes end or a multiple holed series of jets. This crude arrangement gave an early form of mobile light but as gas became more available from centralised retorts and distributed through supply pipes to homes and factories, the elaboration of the gas burner form blossomed and with a variety of materials and designs the performance was much improved. The effectiveness of early gas lights was realised by the very yellow flame primarily created by the extreme impurity of the gases being manufactured or by the burner design which encouraged partial combustion with its lambent yellow tipped flame cone. Certainly the soot and odour emanating from early burners must have dirtied dwellings and left dubious fumes to dissipate.

The first improvement to basic orifice jet burners was the Argand burner principle which held the stage for performance throughout the greater part of the 19th century. The basis of the Argand burner was to ensure close contact between the issuing gas and the air to encourage maximum mixing and combustion whilst presenting he largest surface area of flame to achieve illumination. The Argand consisted of one or more rings of small holes produced in metal with annular spaces through which the air was encouraged to pass freely with the assistance of a heat resisting glass uptake (chimney) which acting like a flue, drew the flame in height. Gas was, during this period, sold not for its heating potential as now, but for its competence as a lighting medium and it was the performance of accurately standardised Argand burners held by each gas undertaking that determined the quality of the gas production. The Argand burner was a sophisticated and expensive item for widespread use and many other burner developments to optimise lighting were entertained, but of the newer burners the simple Batswing or Fishtail reigned supreme.