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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Herndon in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Acetylene Gas Generating Station

 
 
Acetylene Gas Generating Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jeremy Prats, September 3, 2006
1. Acetylene Gas Generating Station Marker
Inscription. Circa 1900. The Herndon Gas Company was established in the early 1900s by two brothers, Edward and Benjamin Detwiler. The company provided gas for downtown Herndon street lights and for lights in a few of the Town's more affluent households. Electric lighting replaced gas in about 1917.

A blacksmith shop, operated from 1905 until 1965 by William H. Moffett, stood to the side of this building. In 1975, the shop was relocated to Frying Pan Park, where it remains today.
 
Location. 38° 58.269′ N, 77° 23.149′ W. Marker is in Herndon, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is on Lynn Street north of Station Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Herndon VA 20170, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mosby’s Herndon Station Raid (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Herndon Station (about 300 feet away); Tracks Into History (about 300 feet away); The Rail Strike of 1916 (about 700 feet away); Laura Ratcliffe (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Herndon.
 
Regarding Acetylene Gas Generating Station. (From the interpretative poster inside the gas
Acetylene Gas Generating Station and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jeremy Prats, September 3, 2006
2. Acetylene Gas Generating Station and Marker
house.)
This is one of the three known gas generating buildings in town. Some buildings provided gas for individual homes, while this building provided gas for street lighting as well. Because of the danger involved in the generating process, the buildings were made of concrete and specially designed to minimize the danger of explosion.

The gas generation process was simple. Calcium carbide was added to the hopper and gravity fed into the lower water tank. The carbide dissolved in the water, producing acetylene gas. The pressurized gas was distributed through a piping system to homes or street lights.

The mixing ratio was one pound carbide to one gallon of water. The carbide was recharged about once a month. This replica represents a 35-light generator. It would furnish enough gas for 35 lights, or a two-burner stove and about 30 lights.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Interpretative Poster Inside Building image. Click for full size.
By Jeremy Prats, September 3, 2006
3. Interpretative Poster Inside Building
Acetylene Generator image. Click for full size.
By Jeremy Prats, September 3, 2006
4. Acetylene Generator
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 3, 2006, by Jeremy Prats of Afton, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,473 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 3, 2006, by Jeremy Prats of Afton, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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