Mr. W. H. Preece writes to the Journal of Arts as follows:

At the South Kensington Museum, very careful observations have been made on the relative cost of the two systems, i. e., gas and electricity. The court lighted is that known as the "Lord President's" (or the Loan) Court. It is 138 feet long by 114 feet wide, and has an average height of about 42 feet. It is divided down the middle lengthwise by a central gallery. There are cloisters all around it on the ground floor, and the walls above are decorated in such a way that they do not assist in the reflection or diffusion of the light. The absence of a ceiling--the court being sky-lighted--is to some extent compensated for by drawing the blinds under the sky-lights.

The experiments commenced about twelve months ago, with eight lamps only on one side of the court. The system was that of Brush. The dynamo machine was driven by an eight horse-power Otto gas engine, supplied by Messrs. Crossley. The comparison with the gas was so much in favor of electricity, and the success of the experiment so encouraging, that it was determined to light up the whole court.

The gas engine, which was not powerful enough, was replaced by a 14-horse power "semi-portable" steam engine, by Ransomes & Co., of Ipswich--an engine of sufficient power to drive double the required number of lights. The dynamo machine is a No. 7 Brush. There are sixteen lamps in all--eight on each side of the court. The machine has given no trouble whatever, and it has, as yet, shown no signs of wear. The lamps were not all good, and it was found that they required careful adjustment, but when once they were got to go right they continued to do so, and have, up to the present, shown no signs of deterioration, although the time during which they have been in operation is nine months.

The first outlay has been as follows:

 Engine and fixing, including shafting and

belting................................ £420

Dynamo machine......................... 400

Lamps, apparatus, and conducting wire . 384



The cost of working has been, from June 22, to December 31, during which period the lights were going on 87 nights for a total time of 359 hours:

 £ s. d.

Carbons............................... 18 9 0

Oil, etc.............................. 4 11 6

Coal.................................. 11 14 0

Wages................................. 34 7 6


£69 2 0 

being at the rate of 3s. 10d. per hour of light.

Now, the consumption of gas in the court would have been 4,800 cubic feet per hour, which, at 3s. 4d. per 1,000 cubic feet, would amount to 16s. per hour, thus showing a saving of working expenses of 12s. 2d. per hour, or, since the museum is lit up for 700 hours every year, a total saving at the rate of £426 per annum.

In estimating the cost as applied to this court, only half the cost of the engine should be taken, for a second dynamo machine has lately been added to light up some of the picture galleries, and the "Life" room of the Art School. The capital outlay should, therefore, be £994. In making a fair estimate of the annual cost, we should also allow something for percentage on capital, and something for wear and tear. Take--

 £ s.

5 per cent, on the capital............................. 49 10

5 per cent, for wear and tear of electrical apparatus.. 39 0

5 per cent, for depreciation of engines, etc........... 21 0


Total.......... £109 10 

leaving a handsome balance to the good of £316 10s. as against gas. The results of the working, both practically and financially, have proved to be, at South Kensington, a decided success.

I am indebted to Colonel Festing, R.E., who has charge of the lighting, for these details.

The same comparison cannot be made at the British Museum, for no gas was used in the reading-room before the introduction of the electric light, but the cost of lighting has proved to be 5s. 6d. per hour--at least one-third of that which would be required for gas. The system in use at the Museum is Siemens', the engine being by Wallis and Steevens, of Basingstoke.

"An excellent example of economic electric lighting, is that of Messrs. Henry Tate & Sons, sugar refinery, Silvertown. A small Tangye engine, placed under the supervision of the driver of a large engine of the works, drives an 'A' size 'Gramme' machine, which feeds a 'Crompton' 'E' lamp. This is hung at a height of about 12 feet from the ground in a single story shed, about 80 feet long, and 50 feet wide, and having an open trussed roof. The light, placed about midway, lengthways, has a flat canvas frame, forming a sort of ceiling directly over it, to help to diffuse the illumination. The whole of the shed is well lit; and a large quantity of light also penetrates into an adjoining one of similar dimensions, and separated by a row of columns. The light is used regularly all through the night, and has been so all through the winter. Messrs. Tate speak highly of its efficiency. To ascertain the exact cost of the light, as well as of the gas illumination which it replaced, a gas-meter was placed to measure the consumption of the gas through the jets affected; and also the carbons consumed by the electric illumination were noted. A series of careful experiments showed that during a winter's night of 14 hours' duration the illumination by electricity cost 1s. 9d., while that by gas was 3s. 6d., or 1½d. per hour against 3d. per hour. To this must be added the greatly increased illumination, four to five times, given by the electric light, to the benefit of the work; while this last illuminant also allowed, during the process of manufacture of the sugar, the delicate gradations of tint to be detected; and so to avoid those mistakes, sometimes costly ones, liable to arise through the yellow tinge of gas illumination. This alone would add much to the above-named economy, arising from the use of electric illumination in sugar works."

I am indebted for these facts to Mr. J. N. Shoolbred, under whose supervision the arrangements were made.

Some excellent experience has been gained at the shipbuilding docks in Barrow-in-Furness, where the Brush system has been applied to illuminate several large sheds covering the punching and shearing machinery, bending blocks, furnaces, and other branches of this gigantic business. In one shed, which was formerly lighted by large blast-lamps, in which torch oil was burnt, costing about 5d. per gallon, and involving an expenditure of £8 9s. per week, the electric light has been adopted at an expenditure of £4 14s. per week.

The erecting shop, 450 feet by 150 feet, formerly dimly lit by gas at a cost of £22 per week, is now efficiently lit by electricity at half the cost.

I am indebted for these facts to Mr. Humphreys, the manager of the works.

The Post office authorities have contracted with Mr. M. E. Crompton, to light up the Post-office at Glasgow for the same price as they have hitherto paid for gas, and there is no doubt that in many instances this arrangement will leave a handsome profit to the Electric Light Company. They are about to try the Brockie system in the telegraph galleries, and the Brush system in the newspaper sorting rooms of the General Post-office in St. Martin's-le-Grand.