Buildings that glow in the night; façades lighted from hidden sources so that all the architectural detail is brought out as clearly by night as by day; streets in which the atmosphere itself is luminous without any visible means of illumination — these are among the possibilities of the not distant future.
We have become so accustomed to regarding the present as an age of marvels, so used to giving a seven-days’ wonder only an hour’s attention, that we give scarcely any notice to the inovations that come gradually.
In few lines of invention has there been a more steady advance than in that of the men who are trying to discount the setting of the sun and light up the night by artificial means.
What follows is an interesting discussion of different kinds of lighting, including gas, electric, vapor, and even firefly. It’s interesting to see the different possibilities pondered 100 years ago about something we take for granted today.
There are still a few places in the city to see old fashioned gas street lamps. In November, the Wall Street Journal wrote about the gas lamps that still (barely) illuminate the streets of Park Slope. And in Manhattan, City Hall Park still has gaslights on its fountain. The great website Forgotten New York has a deeper look at gaslight remnants around town.
STREETS TO BE GLOWING LANES OF HIDDEN LIGHT AT NIGHT: Illumination of the Future Will Be by Concealed Lights So Reflected as to Rival Sunlight Within and Without. (PDF)
From March 5, 1911