Until the 19th century, the only sources of light were the sunlight and the static light from the fireplace, with also the movable lights from the fragile oil or grease lamp, the torch, the brandon or candles. Lighting technology will rapidly evolve in the 19th century with industrial candle wax, petrol and finally electricity.

Sun and wood fire

For thousands of years, light sources remained the same before rapidly multiplying and getting more sophisticated in the 19th century.

At the beginning of the 19th century, human activities were still governed by daylight. The fire from the fireplace took over in the evening for the poorest people. A torch held up in the air would provide little movable lighting for a short period of time.

Burning fat

The rudimentary oil or grease lamp with its flickering flame was used in the countryside until the beginning of the 20th century. The smelly tallow candle and the more practical beeswax candle are reserved for the well-off people. However, candles still need to be blown out and the wick rekindled to work properly. With the stearin discovery, the braided wick and the manufacturing mechanisation in the 1835s, candles became widespread and gradually replaced oil lamps inside homes.

With mineral oil

Oil extraction and refining in the mid-19th century allowed the use of oil and petrol for more powerful, adjustable and safer luminaires such as the popular lamp Pigeon.

La Fée Électricité

The small hydroelectric plants installed on the Isle River began to provide electricity for public lighting and some rare town houses from 1890 onwards. But that very convenient electric light did not reach the countryside until after WWII.