This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol4: Plumbing And Gas-Fitting, Heating And Ventilation, Painting And Decorating, Estimating And Calculating Quantities", by The Colliery Engineer Co. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
250. The chief considerations which govern the location of gas fixtures are: first, that they shall light the rooms to good advantage; and, second, that they shall cause no danger from fire.
In lighting bedrooms the fixtures should be located so that the bed, wardrobe, dressing case, mirror, etc. may be placed in desirable positions without interfering with the light.
The positions of the closets should be noted, and, if practicable, the light should be arranged to shine into them, so that the contents may be easily seen.
Dressing mirrors should be provided with two stiff-bracket lights, one at each side. They should be placed as high as they can conveniently be reached, in order to properly illuminate the head and shoulders of the person using the mirror.
In bathrooms the lights should be set high, so that a person will not be liable to strike them in taking off or putting on clothing. A light should not be located over a bath tub or a wash bowl, or anywhere near them, because of the liability to accident.
Stairways should be provided with a light at the top, whether there is one at the bottom or not. A light on the newel post alone is not sufficient to properly illuminate the steps. People having defective sight are especially liable to accident on stairways, and the light should be arranged so as to avoid all shadows which might prove deceptive.
A kitchen or laundry should be lighted by pendants whenever practicable. If side lights must be used, they should not be placed over the sink or near enough to it to be liable to be struck, or be splashed with water. The best place for a side light is usually over the pastry table.
A side light should not be placed over a set of tubs if it can be avoided. A better place is at the head of the ironing table.
The stairway leading from the kitchen to the basement, or cellar, should be lighted by a burner which is located some distance away from the foot of the stairs. If the light is near the foot of the stairs, it is very likely to be struck when large articles are carried past it.
Hallways are best lighted by a pendant; if a side light is used, it should be placed where it will not interfere with the coat rack, or mirror, or other hall furniture.
A pendant in a hallway or vestibule should be set so high that the globes will not be liable to be knocked off by a person who is putting on an overcoat, etc.
Chandeliers should be hung from the center of the ceiling as nearly as practicable. If several side lights are used in the same room, they should be placed at the same height.
Swing brackets should not be used for lighting hallways, stairs, vestibules, or other passageways, because of the danger from fire. The light is very liable to be swung too close to the wall, and to be overlooked until the building is set on fire. Swing brackets are always a source of danger when they are located within reach of woodwork or drapery, and, therefore, are not to be recommended for general use. It is preferable, in most cases, to use instead, two single lights on stiff brackets, or else a bracket having two or more rigid arms with fixed lights.
A gas fixture should never be placed in a closet or other very small room, if there is any chance that the door may be closed and the light left burning. If that should happen, the temperature would rise rapidly, and there would be great danger of setting fire to any combustible material that might be in the room.
Care should be taken in locating side lights, to make sure that wooden doors cannot be swung back against them, and be scorched or set on fire. Lights should not be placed where they may be blown out by strong drafts of air, or by the sudden slamming of a door. A gas burner when extinguished, with a full head of gas on, is very dangerous.
Hot-air registers in the floor or wall should be carefully avoided in locating gas fixtures. If a light is over or near a register, it will flicker incessantly, and will be a great annoyance.
251. The proper height of gas lights above the floor depends somewhat upon circumstances. In ordinary dwellings having a ceiling 9 feet high or more, side lights should be placed from 5 1/2 to 6 feet high. Pendants may be hung from 6 1/2 to 7 feet from the floor. If the rooms are large and high, the lights of chandeliers may be placed at a height of 7 to 8 feet, or even more. Of course, all lights above 7 feet high will require the assistance of a torch or step ladder to light them.
Side lights in hallways and vestibules of churches, and similar buildings, should be placed at a height of at least 7 feet.
Low lights should be avoided, because they are tiresome to the eyes. If they must be used, they should be provided with opaque shades, as before mentioned.