Life Before Electricity – It Really Existed!

Electricity is a form of energy that we have learned to create and harness for the good of the human world and we would find life very difficult without it. However, there was of course a time before electricity was used for light and other sources for energy in the home, and believe it or not, people coped – but how…?

LightingCandle Lighting

Gas and candles were used for lighting purposes. In the 19th and 20th century, electricity was not widely available and considered a luxury and only afforded by the very rich, upper classes. Old fashioned gas lamps, of which many designs are still available today, were used to light homes and because of the cost of gas, which was not piped as it is today, gas lamps were used sparingly. It would appear that the early 20th century strains of paying for home lighting are similar to the high costs of electricity today. People relied on daylight, until the evening dusk set in and it was time to settle for the evening. One can easily picture the scene of a father, after a hard day on the docks or down in the mines (or participating someway in the industrial revolution) sitting with the daily newspaper or a book and mother darning her children and husband’s socks or pro-longing the life f clothing.

Heating and Cooking

Electricity is used for heating and cooking in today’s modern society. Before electricity was used, coal was the most available and cheapest heating fuel around. Large ranges which were kept in the kitchen provided cooking and heating facilities and the range even heated the iron. Huge tin kettles would be simmering away for most of the day to ensure there was enough hot water for tin baths in front of the range or fire and usually the same water was used for all of the children.

Dirty linenThe young people of today, whose parents have only been exposed to modern electricity and appliances would laugh and think this was awful. But this is what life was like for people before modern appliances and energy supplies became a way of daily living. There were no automatic washing machines, laundry would be washed in a large pan on the stove top heated by coal. Then hung out to dry on a washing line that would stretch across the street. Nothing like hanging your dirty linen out to dry. It is impossible to imagine.

Daylight Saving Time

As in place today, the changing of the clocks has historic origins and stems back to days way before electricity lit up our homes. Commonly known as British summertime, this process has pros and cons to it. From a retailing standpoint, it is beneficial for business and for greener issues, natural daylight will cut our carbon footprints in that we use less energy when the lighter nights appear. From a financial stance, daylight saving time encourages people to be out spending more money due to outdoor activities. Where it has it’s benefits, is from an energy standpoint and it is what energy companies use to base customer’s tarrifs on. More usage in the winter and less usage in the summer. It has been argued that changing the clocks has dispropionate advantages for energy consumers by way of giving false usage projections.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:

Colin is writing on behalf of Haven Power, offering competitive business electricity quotes to small to medium enterprises. Haven Power put customer service above all.

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