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The many ways to put night time to good use in our cities; lessons from urbanization and use of light energy
The use of light to improve activities
How do you use light energy in your area
Light chase away the nightClick thumbnail to view full-size
Light and Our CitiesClick thumbnail to view full-size
The different ways light has been used by humans
The prehistoric period is as far back for one to trace the use of light and fire. The day was bright and humans were able to find their food, paths and see far and wide. During day humans were able to move about and cover large tracts of territory. Then at night this was not as easy as during day. At night things were different. The night was cold and visibility was less. It was not possible to find one's way. Humans must have stayed away from their homes once night found them away. Later the fire was discovered. This made it easier. The nights were warmer and activities such as entertainment or singing was done then. It was possible to do some more work in the night. Thus started the advent of chores. Women could continue doing whatever they did not finish during day. Men could occupy themselves likewise. Children must have been asked to help or were entertained by stories from their elders.
With the use of fire, lamps, candles, wick lamps, oil lamps, bonfires, torches and electric lighting humanity was able to increase on the hours to engage in work. In the next capsules we shall see how this was possible. We shall see how this improved on sleep, strife, success and sustainability.
Fire was used from prehistoric times to cook food, provide light, warmth and as a security commodity. It was used as a deterrent against predators. Fire increased on the numbers of hours humans could be bale to do work in their dwellings. It also enabled them preserve food by roasting or smoking the fresh food. Smoking in this situation involved placing the commodity to be preserved above the fire. Smoke would then impale attach itself as a black coating. If this went on for a number of days, the meat or fish, of fruits would be dried and would have a longer shelf life. That way time spent hunting was reduced and it was used for other activities. One such activity was to make overcoats from hides and skins. With time skills in making or spinning clothes out of hides and skins was honed. The level of comfort in dwellings improved with time. Herbs of different kinds were boiled and made into different spices or teas. These were used to improve on taste and culinary prowess of different cultures. Work bore fruits and it was possible to improve on the tools in use at that time. The working of iron-works became an occupation of different cultures around this time. Materials made out of bronze, copper and iron or a mixture of alloys became popular. Their usage became symbols of high status. Metal hoes and other agricultural tools were made and this further improved the food production and health of humans. Thus they were able to sustain their numbers.
It was possible to make articles and tools with which fire was carried around and brightness regulated. These were the different types of lamps. The earliest models were twigs or bundled grass that was compressed together and would burn slowly. Around this time humans also learnt how to use fat as fuel. Lamps were modified to include oil, spirit, gas and kerosene lamps that had wicks or a burning filament. The term for this burning material was called incandescent as opposed to inflammable. An inflammable material burns readily and has in it materials that if brought near a spark can set a raging fire. An incandescent material is inflammable but can be controlled.
Candles are a combination of a wick and wax. They come in different sizes and colors. The wax is subjected to heat that makes it melt. In this form it rises up the wick and keeps the flame burning. That way the candle is able to give off more light. The light is an opportunity to do more chores indoors. Those in the candle business developed a lucrative industry. Candles became vogue for celebrations, anniversaries, funerals and other occasions. Up to today candles still feature as highly demanded commodities at different events all over the world.
Wick lamps are a piece of cloth dipped in fuel. They come in different forms. Some are glass lamps or metal foil lamps. The wick gives soot that leaves a dark black smudge on surfaces. Wick Lamps can be regulated by pulling or pushing the wick. The brightness is regulated that way.
Oil lamps are used to give off brighter light using oil and a wick. These last longer and can give off very bright light to light a large area. They were used in cities in earlier times.
Bonfires are still used even today mostly to light a fire around which people sit or run around to be merry. In some cultures bonfires are a sign of a funeral and at the same time a symbol for burning death while keeping those on vigil warm.
Torches are still used today in the form more or less similar to how they were used a long time ago. A torch is dry twig or grass compacted together with a light at one end. In some cultures a torch is dipped in oil or wax. They are used to give off light or to be carried over long distances giving off light as one moves. A modern day torch or flashlight uses batteries and a bulb.
The different ways Cities have used light
Electric lighting increased drastically the hours and quality of life of humanity. Smoke inhaled by other forms of lamps which could cause lung diseases was avoided. The number of accidents from fires was reduced and injuries from burns reduced too. It was possible to extend one's working hours late in the night. The light could be regulated and made brighter. This kind of light had many advantages. For the sake of our story, it increased on the hours people could enjoy staying outdoors, it increased security and beautified cities. Those who work or study at night using the light energy have increased in numbers. People are able to schedule work and study. this has been advantageous. They keep their work but also are provided opportunities to improve on themselves.