Plzeňské sympozia

Hana Svatošová

Public Lighting in Prauge – Lighting the Pathway to the Wealth of the Modern City

pp. 276–286 (Czech), Summary pp. 286–287 (English)

Th?e establishment of the Prague municipal gasworks in 1862 marked the start of the systematic building up of Prague's communal economy and property. However, gas lighting in Prague had already started in 1844, when the private company Breslauer Gasbeleuchtungs-Gesellschaft signed a contract with Prague's municipal council and began providing gas lighting for the city from the gasworks in Karlín. (Th?e first gas lighting started operating in 1847.) Neither the gas nor the service provided was of very high quality, and so the Prague city council decided that once the contract expired in 1867 it would completely take over the lighting of Prague itself and build up its own municipal gas company. ?is was a bold decision, because the costs exceeded the city's budget at the time, but the assumption that the municipal enterprise would make a profit proved to be correct. Within Prague itself the municipal gasworks had a monopoly, but in the suburbs it had to face competition from a Belgian gas company. In the 1890s the city council decided it would also set up an electric power station enterprise, that it would have a monopoly on running electric trams in Prague, and would operate street lighting in the city using gas and electricity. In 1897 the Electrical Utilities of the King's City of Prague were established. After the First World War it was necessary to reconstruct and substantially expand the municipal gasworks and electricity companies. ?e city therefore had to take out a large loan from abroad. Th?anks to this it was possible to consolidate the enterprises and they began to thrive economically. After the Second World War the gasworks and the electric power station were nationalized.

Key words: Prague - municipal economy - public lighting - municipal gasworks -
Electrical Utilities of the King's City of Prague


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