Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

April 21, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Let there be light

NOW HEAR THIS: Let there be light

By LARRY M. JONES

Since earliest time, mankind has looked for ways to light up the dark and function more easily at night. Hey, it’s scary in the dark. There are boogers, monsters and all sorts of really evil unseen things dwelling in the darkness.

When our earliest ancestors discovered fire, it was certainly a “red letter day” in many ways.  While it provided a great variety of benefits, its ability to penetrate the darkness quite radically changed the way we lived. 

Initially, early man only used light from an open fire, either from an open campfire or torch, to provide light and security at night. Ever the innovator, early men and women quickly learned to build lamps and candles to burn various oils, fats, and resins. Olive oil, pine resin (fat wood), whale oil, rendered animal fat or natural petroleum deposits on the surface were used to fuel these primitive lamps. By the 18th century we were learning to harness hydrocarbon gasses from coal mines and wells for use in lighting of street lamps and other public venues.  Whenever I think of gas street lights, I cannot help but recall the classic song, “The Old Lamp-Lighter,” written in 1946.

Advances in the electrical industry by such pioneers as Thomas Edison gradually eclipsed the value of gas lighting. By the turn of the 20th century, incandescent lighting dominated the field in urban cities and towns, although down on the “pore farm” and elsewhere in America’s rural heartland, the kerosene or “coal oil” lamp reigned supreme.

As I have recounted on several occasions, we didn’t have electricity on Route One Millsap until the early 1950s. I vividly remember reading about Dick, Jane, Sally and Spot by the light of a kerosene lamp. These oil-wick lamps produced a very soft reddish glow and from what I’ve read were equivalent to about a 20-25 watt bulb. All my life I heard that reading in dim light would hurt your eyes. However, if this were true, I’d have never been accepted for Navy flight training.

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Viewpoints
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    April 13, 2014

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    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

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    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports

    I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.

    April 6, 2014

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

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    In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my first year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Review of ‘Noah’

    TV host Glenn Beck and other stalwarts of the Christian right have attacked the recent blockbuster “Noah” as being “pro-animal” and unfaithful to the Bible.

    April 3, 2014

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