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Coal-gas was first described by Stephen Hales in 1726, and first manufactured by William Murdock at Redruth, Cornwall, in 1792. In 1798 Murdock lighted with gas the foundry of Messrs. Boulton and Wall at Soho, Birmingham, and in 1802 the Peace of Amiens was celebrated by an illumination in the same place. In 1803-4 a Moravian named Winsor demonstrated gas-lighting at the Lyceum in Piccadilly; in 1808 Murdock lighted Messrs. Phillips and Lee's cotton-mill at Manchester with gas; in 1807 part of Pall Mall was similarly lighted; in the following year a gas company was incorporated in London, and the lighting of the capital with gas became 1812, whilst in 1815 the publication of Accum's Practical Treatise on Gas Lighting marked the full establishment of the gas industry. Paris was first lighted with gas in the latter year.

The chemical investigation of coal-gas was carried out by Dr. William Henry, and the development of plant is largely due to Samuel Clegg.

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