History of Natural Gas

It’s New Year's Eve 1873, and for the first time gas lamps flicker across the city, lighting 42 private homes and five public streets for the 2,000 residents of the young city of Seattle. Three men have teamed to build Seattle Gas Light Company, the city’s first gas utility: Dexter Horton, Seattle's first banker; Arthur Denny, one of the town's founders; and John Collins, city mayor.  The gas has been manufactured from coal and distributed to customers through hollowed-out Cedar logs.  Despite the rudimentary system, the gas is considered to be of a high quality. 

Sixteen years later, the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 tears through the city, leaving nearly every building and residence damaged, destroying the electric and gas facilities. A new utility – Seattle Gas, Electric Light and Motor Company – is formed, now serving roughly 1,200 customers and producing 96,000 cubic feet of gas per day.  As the uses of gas increase, so too does the volume of consumer use, in both businesses and homes.

In the early 1950s, the advent of the steel pipe encourages business leaders and public officials to campaign to bring natural gas to the Pacific Northwest. In anticipation of the fuel's arrival, utilities merge and reform, confident that natural gas will attract more customers, due to its cheaper cost and multitude of advantages. For industrial users, natural gas requires no storage facilities, possesses greater combustion efficiency, and can be utilized in a number of ways. It is also a cleaner burning fuel that can be heated in more compact furnaces, enabling residential customers to convert areas surrounding their furnaces into additional living space.

As a result, predictions of broader consumer use prove correct: natural gas quickly becomes the new fuel of the modern age in the Pacific Northwest, attracting many residential, commercial, and industrial consumers. 

In the years since, natural gas usage in both the United States and around the world has only continued to increase.  The advantages and benefits of natural gas are clear to many, from its reliability to its convenience to its versatility.  In the Pacific Northwest in particular, where many users and consumers are concerned with environmental concerns, natural gas has proven to be an excellent alternative to older forms of energy consumption.  It’s clear that natural gas is here to stay, and Snyder Gas Consulting is proud to be dedicated to helping consumers utilize this fantastic natural resource safely and efficiently.