The nineteenth century opened in the flicker of tallow candles and closed in the glare of Edison's electric lamp. Between those two events inventors and manufacturers developed a wonderful assortment of progressively more efficient lighting devices, burning a variety of fuels. Loris Russell records with scientific attention to detail – backed up by more than 200 illustrations – how these lamps were made and used. His text is interspersed with accounts of his own experiments with the fuels and mechanisms of earlier generations.
Russell drew on his own large collection of lighting devices and on the collections of museums and of other individuals for his study, and documented his research with Canadian and United States patent papers, trade catalogues, newspapers, magazines, memoirs, and books. This is the first detailed story of that technological revolution in North America, and while told in the setting of the Canadian home, the developing technology of lighting was common to both sides of the border. A Heritage of Light is of equal importance to collectors and historians in the United States and Canada. This newly reprinted edition of Russell's classic 1968 study has a new introduction by Janet Holmes.