The history of gas meters is not only a story about the methods of calculating the volume of the fuel used but also a process of developing innovative business models. The old gas meters were a fulfilled business prophecy, announcing a new order of economic flows in the form of a user-network relationship, which is so prevalent today.
These silent companions of our daily lives are also evocative of global civilizational changes. Although today we associate stoves, heaters and refrigerators with electricity, in the 19th century they were powered by … gas. The introduction of these appliances to people’s homes heralded a lifestyle revolution that continues to this day.
Gas equipment manufacturers were faced with a considerable problem – how to persuade people who were used to cooking on coal and lighting their homes with candles to use appliances powered by a new, previously unknown fuel?
The birth of modern cities was illuminated by gas light. The new source of light introduced many changes to the domestic and social life of their residents. Although gas lighting was ultimately swallowed up by the darkness of history, it is still possible to encounter traces of its former glory.
An accidental visitor to a traditional gasworks will see a tangle of pipes, some baffling geometrically-shaped installations and mystifying devices. Such a gas plant resembles an octopus with a thousand tentacles, which has crawled out of the canal at the edge of the city. What happens inside this tangle of pipes? What are the mysterious towers for?