5 OCTOBER 1878, Page 3

The Gas Companies are beginning to recognise their new rival,

the electric light. At the half-yearly meeting] of two of them, on Wednesday last, the possible effects of the introduction of the new light on their shares was discussed. Great stress was laid on the immense difference in expense of the two methods of

illu- mination. At present it costs twelve times as much to light the New Avenue de l'Opera at Paris with electric light as with gas, and there is no doubt that till a cheaper burnt and other simplifications are introduced, gas will not be disused in street-lighting in favour of electricity. Shareholders, howeveiN are told that even then they need not fear for their dividends, as " of all the business done by the Companies in London, that of street-lighting is of least concern," being not so much as one per cent. of the total supply ; while gas is yearly be- coming more and more employed in cookery, where it is safe from the rivalry of the electric light, which has very little heat. The general impression among those who are financially concerned in the matter seems to be that though the electric light must not be pooh-poohed, it is not be feared at present, owing to its expense, or at any time, by reason of its being too intense for any places but open squares, broad streets, and perhaps public halls, unless the extravagant method should be adopted of first pro- ducing light far brighter than gas, and then mellowing it down to an intensity endurable within the limits of a room. Probably gas and electric light will go on side by side, each having special advantages of its own, just as horses have survived the intro- duction of railways. The really formidable rival of gas for domestic purposes is paraffin, which is hawked about all our back streets daily like milk, and which will "carry about," while gas it immovable.