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Several years ago, while doing research for an article on carbide generators, I found there was another gas that was once used for lighting (and cooking). It was not quite as popular as acetylene, but was installed in thousands of "fine country homes, churches and summer resorts" where city gas was not available.

It took me a few minutes to recognize the device. It took even longer for me to remember that this device would have been used with an in-ground fuel storage tank, that may still be present.

My favorite book on old-house systems, Mechanics Of The Household: A Course Of Study Devoted To Domestic Machinery And Household Mechanical Appliances by Edward Keene, has an entire chapter on lighting and heating with gasoline.

"Cold-process system of gasoline lighting with kitchen range and water heater.

In Fig. 183, the entire plant is shown in place. It occupies a place inside the building, usually in the basement. In the figure the carburetor is marked 1; the mixer 2 stands at the end of the blower, which is numbered 3. The motive power of the blower is furnished by a heavy weight, which is raised by a block and tackle, the cord of which is attached to the drum and fastened to the shaft of the blower. The force furnished by the weight 4 drives the blower and maintains a constant pressure on the gas in the system. The pipe 8 conducts the air from the blower to the carburetor, which is located underground, below the frost line and 25 or 30 feet away from the building.

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The carburetor in this case is also the storage tank. The carburetor is divided laterally into two or more compartments, depending on the size of the plant to be accommodated. The construction is such that the compartments are only partly filled with gasoline, and arranged to permit the air from the blower, which enters at the pipe marked 'air', to pass through each compartment in succession, beginning at the bottom, in order that it may become completely saturated with gasoline vapor. As an additional means of aiding the saturation of the passing air, the compartments in this carburetor are provided with spiral passages through which the air must pass, so that when it reaches the outlet pipe, marked gas, the air is completely filled with gasoline vapor.

The vapor-saturated air now leaves the carburetor by pipe 9, in Fig. 183, and enters the mixing chamber 2, where it is mixed with the required amount of atmospheric air, to make it completely combustible when burned at the burner."

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Thanks, Bill. I Imagine that blower needed to be cranked fairly often when the house was all lit up. "Read faster! My arm's getting tired."

The Coleman lantern burns gas under pressure, and is fairly safe. Apparently, the early versions burned ordinary gasoline. But piping an air/gas mix under pressure all thru the house does seem a little risky.

Looks like this house survived, though.

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I Imagine that blower needed to be cranked fairly often when the house was all lit up. "Read faster! My arm's getting tired."

The crank on the end of the long shaft was to wind a rope that ran through a pulley to a weight. I don't know how long each wind-up lasted, but I'm sure it was "the help" that was charged with the task.
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I'd like to see exactly how the blower worked. I'm having a hard time imagining how that fat cylinder would form what is, essentially, a low-pressure compresor.

I'd also love to see a cross section of the storage tank/carburetor. I'm imagining something like a multi-stage hookah.

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I'd like to see exactly how the blower worked. I'm having a hard time imagining how that fat cylinder would form what is, essentially, a low-pressure compresor.

I'd also love to see a cross section of the storage tank/carburetor. I'm imagining something like a multi-stage hookah.

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Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif gasoline_gas_machine.pdf

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