Reloj temporizador Le Reveil Magique

Made in: Francia
Steel, iron, brass and glass
Early’s  XX Century
Registry number: OT 232

Photography: Reloj temporizador “Le Réveil Magique”
Unknown photographer
© Museo del Gas de la Fundación Gas Natural Fenosa, 2017

The “Le Réveil Magique” timer, which is preserved in the Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation Gas Museum collection, is an invention that helped automate when the gas lampposts in cities were turned off and on in the early 20th century. Before using this gas appliance, the lighting and extinguishing task was assigned to the lamplighters. However, due to the rising cost of the labour, companies chose to gradually move aware from the manual operators and the city lights started to be turned on and off automatically. The times were set by the authorities according to the daylight hours of each season.

The functioning of the gas timer was based on the movement of the clock, which had a circular disc that made one revolution every 24 hours. The movement of the disc activated the gas shut-off valve, which lit the pilot flame while the lampposts were turned off. The flame was turned off five minutes after the lamppost was turned on and it was reignited five minute before the lamppost was turned off.. The inside of the sphere of this invention contains an inscription reading Système breveté SGDG (the abbreviation of sans garantie du gouvernement), a legal warning from the French patent law, written in 1844, which declared that assurance had been granted without a prior review of the device.