LONDON. Shares of £50. black, red seal. # 4000. No 6930. Printed on vellum. The pioneers of gas lighting were William Murdock in England, and Philippe Lebon in France. Murdock (1754-1839) was a mining engineer, who lit his own house in Redruth, Cornwall, by gas in 1795. His first experiments were primitive. He filled a pig's bladder with gas, released it through a small hole, and ignited it. Later he developed iron and copper vessels to hold the gas. The experiments were most important, and Murdock pursued them with various prominent industrialists. In 1803 the Boulton & Paul factory near Birmingham was lit by gas, probably the first anywhere in the world. Other factories and warehouses soon followed, and in 1808 Pall Mall, a fashionable street in London, was lit by gas. In 1812 the Gas Light and Coke Company was constituted by a German fortune-seeker named Winzer (anglicised to Winsor). The aim of the company was to expand gas street-lighting in London. It engaged Samuel Clegg, a pupil of Murdock, for the technical expertise. Lighting was introduced in many more streets, on Westminster bridge, and to public buildings, and by 1814 the new process was well-established. This is a share of the second issue, when a further £200.000 capital was raised by the sale of a further 4000 shares. The new shares are generally similar to the first issue (also of £200.000 in shares of £50) except that they have a fine engraved vignette which was not on the original pieces. The vignette, of the same design as on the embossed red seal, shows a classical lady holding up a gas flame by two rising suns. The vignette was engraved by Silvester, of the Strand, a sculptor on wax and marble, believed to have died in Dublin.
Date: 25 October 1817
Startprice: € 300