The Webb Patent Sewer Gas Lamp was invented in the late 19th century by the Birmingham inventor Joseph Webb. Unlike ordinary gas lamps for street lighting, the main purpose of sewer gas destructor lamps was to remove the foul-smelling and explosive gases trapped in the sewers below. With a flame generated by burning town gas, sewer gases were drawn from the sewer below and discharged above the heads of passers-by to dissipate odours.
These fascinating glimpses into Victorian engineering can be found up and down the country. They were once common features of our streets; however, they are becoming increasingly rare and are now fondly maintained and documented by residents and councils alike.
Pudsey Diamond Engineering has successfully refurbished some of these lamps and converted them sympathetically to solar power, at the same time maintaining the appearance of the lamps.
Wherever possible the original lantern parts are re-used, but where this isn’t possible, each mechanical part has been faithfully reproduced to match the original Victorian design. Materials used are either the same or superior to the originals (the top dome spinning is manufactured from stainless steel whereas the original was mild steel – castings are bronze and iron as before).
A custom-designed array of solar panels is fitted at the base of the lantern with a set of batteries and electronics hidden underneath them. The solar power system is completely self-contained, requires no ongoing maintenance and is designed to have sufficient spare battery capacity to maintain operation through the winter months when there is little solar energy available.
A new custom-designed mantle unit incorporates three LEDs, which deliver a colour temperature of approximately 2,700K closely matching the light produced by a gas burner. Also included is a new gas stem, valve and regulator in brass (non-functioning) to maintain the original aesthetic.
The result is an efficient, eco-friendly and reliable lantern that has been brought into the 21st century without losing its Victorian style.