Consumption and Conservation

When was gas lighting invented?

The table below indicates the wattage for various household electrical products.

Appliance Wattage
Clock radio 10
Coffeemaker 900–1,200
Clothes washer 350–500
Clothes dryer 1,800–5,000
Dishwasher (using the drying feature greatly increases energy consumption) 1,200–2,400
Ceiling fan 65–175
Window fan 55–250
Furnace fan 750
Whole house fan 240–750
Hair dryer 1,200–1,875
Microwave oven 750–1100
PC CPU—awake/asleep 120/30 or less
PC Monitor—awake/asleep 150/30 or less
Laptop 50
Refrigerator (frost-free, 16 cubic feet) 725
19” color TV 65–100
27” color TV 113
36” color TV 133
53”–61” projection TV 170
Flat screen TV 120
Toaster oven 1,225
DVD player 20–25
Vacuum cleaner 1,000–1,440
Water heater (40 gal.) 4,500–5,500

In 1799, Philippe Lebon (1767–1804) patented a method of distilling gas from wood for use in a “Thermolamp,” a type of lamp. By 1802, William Murdock (1754–1839) installed gas lighting in a factory in Birmingham, England. The introduction of widespread, reliable interior illumination enabled dramatic changes in commerce and manufacturing.


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