This, no doubt, will, in the not very remote future, supersede gas, just as gas, early in the nineteenth century, took the place, more or less, of candles and oil.
There are many advantages in its use as compared to other modes of illuminating.
1. It is cleaner than any other.
2. It gives no trouble, and is easily kept in order.
3. It is cooler.
4. The light is better.
5. It is safer than lamps or gas.
6. It is more economical (a) in that it can be switched off and on at once; (b) being more cleanly, it involves less labour, fewer new wall-papers, repainting, etc; and in some places is actually cheaper than gas.
7. It does not destroy gilding, tarnish silver, or injure plants. An electric meter is very similar to those used for measuring gas. Where electric mains are in the street, it is not an expensive matter to have the house wired and connected. The average cost per light is 23/- to 25/-, which includes wiring, a plain pendant, fitting and shade. Electricity is sold by the unit, and one unit will light an eight-candle power lamp for thirty-five hours. The small glass bulbs, which vary in cost, become darkened after some months of use. When this is so, they should be renewed, as the light is consequently somewhat dimmed. The old bulbs cannot be cleaned, because if opened the carbon filament and the necessary vacuum would both be destroyed. To prevent waste of light (1) use suitable lamps for the voltage supplied (eight candle-power lamps for small rooms and passages); (2) switch-off at once after use. There is not likely to be any loss through leakage if the wiring is well done. There is also a minimum danger of fire now, provided the fittings comprise a fuze-box to cut-off the current received at too great pressure.
These are the most costly method of illuminating; but no light is so soft and restful to the eyes. Care should be taken in carrying a candlestick to hold it straight so as to avoid dropping grease about. Lighted candles should not be set in a draught, as they "gutter" and waste. They should be bought some time before use to harden. If wax candles become discoloured with keeping they should be gently rubbed with spirit of wine.
Savealls are economical, as by their use all candle-ends may be used.
For piano sconces the variety made for this purpose alone should be used, as the vibration often causes the ordinary kind to drop melted grease on the keys.
Before use all candles should be firmly fixed into the sockets of the candlesticks to avoid spilling the wax or burning crookedly. For this reason self-fitting candles with a graduated base are to be recommended - a small band of neatly folded paper may be used as a substitute, or if the candle be dipped into very hot water, it can then be moulded to fit the space exactly.
The best fat for their manufacture consists of drippings or small ends of candles, to which has been added some white wax (3,d. per oz.) thinly shredded. These ingredients should be melted together, then poured into tin rings or bottoms of pillboxes. When cooling, but not solid, a wick made of twisted cotton should be put into the centre of each.