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Michael Rowley
04-20-2007, 02:58 PM
Steve:

It was probably over 50 years old and still worked perfectly

If you had had towns gas fifty years ago and owned an old (but post twenties) gas stove, your burners would have had to be replaced (free) when the changeover to natural gas was made. If a non-modified stove was bought today, the cost of modifying the burners would probably be prohibitive.

I don't know when the changeover from towns gas to natural gas generally took place in America, but I don't expect the changeover was countrywide there.

Steve Rindsberg
04-21-2007, 12:33 PM
Thanks for that interesting observation. That led to quite a side excursion ... the difference between manufactured and natural gas hadn't occurred to me. But it appears that in this area, the switch to natural gas began in 1907 and ...

"In 1909 CG&E's [Cincinnati Gas and Electric] natural gas supplier, Columbia Gas & Electric Company, completed a pipeline running from its gas source in West Virginia to Cincinnati, guaranteeing the community enough natural gas to meet demand at the time. Soon afterward CG&E stopped manufacturing artificial gas, began using the advertising slogan 'Heat with gas; light with electricity,' and added gas burners and gas furnaces to the appliances it marketed."

( http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/CINCINNATI-GAS-amp;-ELECTRIC-COMPANY-Company-History.html )

Despite that, our house, built ten years later, had dual-purpose lighting fixtures: gas above, electric below. The gas lights were still live when we bought the place in the late 70s.

The Chambers stoves were originally manufactured about an hour's drive from here, in Shelbyville, Indiana (rural now, more so then I'm sure). I don't know what sort of gas they'd have had there by the time they began manufacturing the stoves but if we assume that other areas switched to natural gas at the same time as Cincinnati or before (as seems likely, Cincinnati being notoriously slow to leap on The Next Big Thing) the company would likely have offered stoves in both "flavors" or solely in natural gas configuration. I'm guessing the latter, as I haven't noticed any references to older stoves needing retrofitting on the several Chambers-related sites I've cruised lately.

ktinkel
04-21-2007, 12:34 PM
What is towns gas?

I have never heard of that. Natural gas is sold by utilities that used to be regulated and some were actually owned by cities or states. But the only two types of gas I know of here are natural and bottled (i.e., propane) gas.

annc
04-21-2007, 12:44 PM
What is towns gas?We used to have town gas (have never heard it referred to as 'towns gas') until commercial quantities of gas were discovered in Queensland in the 1960s and piped to Brisbane from Roma.

Town gas is manufactured from coal.

Steve Rindsberg
04-22-2007, 04:32 PM
Manufactured gas as opposed to natural gas. Google "town gas" and have a look at the Wikipedia article for more than you'll ever want to know.

BobRoosth
04-22-2007, 09:45 PM
Here in LA there are a number of companies trying to get permission to build LNG unloading stations on-shore or off-shore, to allow importation of gas from the South Pacific (Indonesia, I think). One complication is that that gas burns somewhat hotter than the natural gas produced in the US. That has the potential to cause all sorts of problems with appliances not designed for the hotter flames.

More information here:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hotgas24jan24,1,4912866.story?coll=la-headlines-business

Michael Rowley
04-23-2007, 07:09 AM
Steve:

Re flaring off the gas ... I was born in Houston, TX and saw plenty of that. It struck me as crazy even then.

It's not exactly crazy: all refineries or chemical works producing large amounts of inflammable gas have flares. They all work on the principle that it goes round and round and it comes out here, but if something goes wrong it might come out there, so things are generally arranged so that in emergencies the gas stream goes up the stack and is safely burnt.

Of course, the flare is also useful for getting rid of stuff for which there's no market, including methane etc. if the refinery isn't connected to the natural gas pipeline.

But you'll have worked that out on your own

Yes, you probably were a bright child, but I expect it took a while after your birth to pick things up.

Michael Rowley
04-23-2007, 07:18 AM
Bob:

One complication is that that gas burns somewhat hotter than the natural gas produced in the US

Your linked source sounds confused, because there's a big difference between 'dirty' gas (with comparatively high contents of sulfur compounds) and gases which differ only in their calorific value (due, usually, to an inert gas diluting the methane).

annc
04-23-2007, 12:08 PM
to allow importation of gas from the South Pacific (Indonesia, I think). Last time I looked, Indonesia was not in the South Pacific. :)

Perhaps they meant the Indian Ocean? Or Papua New Guinea, which abuts Indonesia, and also produces gas.

Michael Rowley
04-23-2007, 03:58 PM
KT:

What is towns gas?

I don't know whether your youth is showing or the fact that you are American. Towns gas (pace, Ann, but must admit I'm not sure if it shouldn't be 'town's') is gas made by distilling coal. It was used until fairly recently in all places that didn't have access to natural gas. It was made in every town in Britain, even very small towns (though we don't call a village a town unless its got a few thousand people living there). Unlike natural gas, it contained carbon monoxide as well as methane, so gas ovens were convenient places for suicides.

There's also producer gas, which is made be passing steam over hot coal; producer gas can be prepared by small units, so could be used to fuel buses and lorries (and was used during WW2).

Michael Rowley
04-23-2007, 04:05 PM
Ann:

have never heard it referred to as 'towns gas'

Quotation by Johnson & Mathey: 'A number of processes have been developed to allow the production of Towns Gas from oil based products.'

BobRoosth
04-24-2007, 06:45 PM
I was writing from memory. A look at Google Earth did not reveal an ocean name, but it is a bit west of the South Pacific. South China Sea, perhaps. A bit east of the Indian Ocean...

annc
04-24-2007, 07:25 PM
I was writing from memory. A look at Google Earth did not reveal an ocean name, but it is a bit west of the South Pacific. South China Sea, perhaps. A bit east of the Indian Ocean...Well, I suppose it depends on whether the source is Indonesia or the South Pacific. Indonesia is comprised of a large number of islands plus part of two other large islands, and it extends from the Indian Ocean to the Arafura Sea. It's just not in the South Pacific... :)

Michael Rowley
04-27-2007, 06:38 PM
If you had had towns gas fifty years ago and owned an old (but post twenties) gas stove

I see that a lot of tidying-up has gone on, women's fashion, of course. They are apparently incapable of seeing that there's a direct connexion between Lois's claim of 'simplicity' and her citation of her 'simple' gas stove and towns gas. Ach, die Weiber!