Gas for Lighting and Heating: Buy Now, Pay Later

Here’s an old advertisement from the Washington Times. This ad for gas lighting and heating ran in the March 2nd, 1906 newspaper. You could choose to have gas fixtures installed throughout your home and have the entire cost amortized over the course of the year … kind of like the deals Best Buy offers these days (no interest financing for 18 months!).

Washington Gas Light Co. advertisement (1906)
Washington Gas Light Co. advertisement (1906)

By the way, the company has been around since it’s founding in 1848. President James K. Polk signed the Congressional act creating the company on July 8th, 1848. The company went on to install gas lights in the House and Senate chambers, followed by the lighting in the White House and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

By 1856, Washington Gas had grown to include nearly 1,700 customers, more than 30 miles of gas mains, and about 500 street lights.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Tim

    When did east of the river get its first gas light?

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  • Walt

    Gas lighting in the early days was notoriously unreliable and dangerous in the early days. Fires and asphyxsiation due to leaking gas were common. This reminds me of Samuel Clemens’ (Mark Twain) famous letter to the Hartford (CT) gas company:

    Hartford, February 12, 1891.

    Dear Sirs:

    Some day you will move me almost to the verge of
    irritation by your chuckle-headed Goddamned fashion of shutting your Goddamned
    gas off without giving any notice to your Goddamned parishioners. Several times
    you have come within an ace of smothering half of this household in their beds
    and blowing up the other half by this idiotic, not to say criminal, custom of
    yours. And it has happened again today. Haven’t you a telephone?


    S L
    Clemens (Mark Twain)