Excerpt from Gas Manufacture and Lighting: A Course of Five Lectures
The history of lighting - Puirmen - Lamps - Cruisies - Candles - Early gas lights - Early electric lights - Coal: its formation, products, derivatives, suitability for gas-making.
The first form of lighting was no doubt the wood fire, kindled partly for warmth and partly for lighting. When a light was required away from the fire, what was more natural than for a brand to be plucked from it and carried in the hand? Then followed the holder for such a brand. The origin of the name of "Puirman" for the candle-holders was told by Mr. D. Bruce Peebles, a former President of this Society, in his presidential address in 1887, as follows: -
"Before they came into use in the country districts it was the duty of the herd-boy to hold the fir candle at supper-time, so that the farmer and the farm-servants might see the road from the food to their mouths. After they had all got their supper it was then the duty of the farmer - so the tale goes - to hold the fir candle and let the boy get his supper; then, if light was wanted through the evening, of course the boy had to resume the duty of candle-holder.
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