Two more 1904 utility items: Another “electric juice” problem (see: “The ‘Juice’ is Off Again“) and a gas pressure warning. On Feb. 26, the PD also noted the street lights were once again out, and “other lights very dim.”
The Welsbach Company was the major manufacturer of mantle lamps at the time, popular because they produced such a bright light. The secret, we now know, was because the gauze was coated in radioactive thorium oxide. The old Welsbach factory grounds in New Jersey are now an EPA Superfund cleanup site.
Storm Brings Darkness
Several times Monday night the electric juice ceased to be juicy and went dead. The storm proved a great fuse blower. Shortly after one o’clock Tuesday morning the current went out presumably on account of trouble on the main line. Santa Rosa looked pretty black overhead and down below. The fluctuation of the current naturally caused the electric motors to fluctuate and the stops occasioned considerable delay in the printing office.– Press Democrat, February 16, 1904Notice to Gas Consumers
Owing to a slight increase in pressure at the gas works to supply the demand for gas, consumers can keep down their gas bills by not opening the keys and valves on Welsbach lamps and stoves. Lighting and cooking bills can be reduced by attending to this.– Press Democrat, May 28, 1904