OF ILLUMINATING GAS
from the book
Troy's One Hundred Years 1789-1889
Published in 1891 by William H. Young, 7 and 9 First Street,
The introduction of gas for illuminating purposes was slow and
difficult. An exhibition of a number of gas-lights was made in
Troy in July 1818, The following advertisement described its novel
character: "The subscriber (Samuel Willard) informs the citizens
of Troy and the public at large that he has at a great expense
fitted up an apparatus for a splendid and brilliant exhibition
of this wonderful production of chemistry. An invisible, aerial,
and permanently elastic fluid will be made to burn in the atmospheric
air with a steady and silent flame, and to afford a soft and most
remarkably pleasant light. The gas-lights will be exhibited during
the whole of the present week at Barney's City Coffee House, near
the court-house in Troy. They will appear in various fanciful
forms, as issuing from common burners, from chandeliers, from
the beaks and wings of eagles, from a cross, a crescent, and a
Some of the citizens favoring the construction of a plant for
the manufacture of illuminating gas, on March 29th, 1825, obtained
the passage of "an act to incorporate the Gas-Light Company
of the City of Troy," by which Samuel McCoun, Richard P.
Hart, John D. Dickinson, Jedediah Tracy, Gurdon Corning, Nathan
Warren, George Tibbits, Gilbert Reilay, Elias Pattison, James
Van Schoonhoven, James Van Brackle, Warren Kellogg, Jeremiah Dauchy,
John Paine, Ephraim Gurley, Alsop Weed, Gordon Grant, John Gary,
and Daniel Southwick were constituted the first directors of "The
Troy Gas Light Company," which was privileged to possess
capital stock not exceeding $150,000. The company, it seems, never
accomplished the purposes of its organization.
On July 19th, 1847, the people of the city were again invited
to inspect the illuminating effects of burning gas: "Our
citizens will have an opportunity of witnessing a beautiful gas-light
in front of the court-house this evening, about 9 o'clock. It
is a different article from that used in Albany and other cities.
It gives a more brilliant light and has no offensive smell. It
is called Clutchett's Solar gas, and is manufactured from old
grease by a very simple apparatus. The Capitol, at Washington,
Coleman's Hotel, and numerous other public buildings are lighted
by the gas. The apparatus will remain at the court-house for a
number of days, when our citizens will be able to judge the merits
of the gas as a cheap and beautiful light."
On the following day, a report of the exhibition appeared in
the same newspaper: "The front of the court-house was beautifully
illuminated last night. The light from the gas lamps temporarily
placed there was very fine, although the evening was not favorable.
As it was, the light thrown upon the park and surrounding buildings
was very brilliant. The Troy Band, always ready to encourage matters
appertaining to the city's welfare, discoursed some eloquent music
in honor of the occasion."
The act to incorporate the Troy Gas-Light Company was passed
by the Legislature, February 16th, 1848. The gas-works were erected
on the east side of Hill Street, between Liberty and Washington
streets, The capital stock was $100,000, of which $11,000 were
taken by citizens of Troy, the remainder by citizens of Philadelphia.
The city was first lighted by the gas made by the company on October
The Troy Citizens' Gas-Light Company, incorporated on May 19th,1875,
erected its works on the east side of Vail (Sixth) Avenue, between
Canal Street (Ingalls Avenue), and Glen Avenue. It and the Troy
Fuel Gas Company, incorporated in 1885, and the Troy Gas-Light
Company, were consolidated on October 11th, 1889, under the name
of the Troy Gas Company, with a capital of $1,000,000. On October
14th, Edward Murphy, jr., was elected president of the company;
William Kemp, vice-president; Derick Lane, treasurer; and Charles
E. Davenport, secretary.