Wow! In 1916, Baltimore, Maryland became the first U.S. city to be illuminated by gas burning lights. The first gas burning lamps had to be lit by hand, but soon became automatic. Imagine what impact these new gas lights would have had on your ancestors’ lives! Factories could stay open longer, and thus, produce more. People could walk around at night because the streets were safer when lit up. The gas was manufactured from coal at this time, not obtained from the ground as it is today. This would have been a boon to the coal industry. Gas lighting also came indoors, so people could read or sew at night without candles. In the 1890’s electricity began replacing gas for lighting.