A gas holder, sometimes called a gasometer, is a large container in which natural gas or town gas is stored near atmospheric pressure at ambient temperatures. The volume of the container follows the quantity of stored gas, typical volumes for large gasholders are about 50,000 cubic metres, with 60 metres diameter structures. Gasholders tend to be used nowadays for balancing purposes rather than for actually storing gas for later use, antoine Lavoisier devised the gazomètre to assist his work in pneumatic chemistry. These enabled him to weigh the gas in a trough with the precision he required. He published his Traité Élémentaire de Chimie. in 1789, james Watt Junior had collaborated with Thomas Beddoes in constructing the pneumatic apparatus, a short lived piece of medical equipment that incorporated a gazomètre. He then adapted the gazomètre for coal gas storage, the term gasometer, anglicisation was adopted by William Murdoch, the inventor of gas lighting, in 1782, as the name for his gasholders. Despite the objections of Murdochs associates that his so-called gasometer was not a meter but a container, the term gasometer is discouraged for use in technical circles, where the term gas holder is preferred. The British Ordnance Survey have marked gas holders on their large scale maps- calling them Gasometers and this became used to label Gas works, where there usually are several gasholders. The spelling gas holder is used by the BBC, though the variant gasholder is commonly used by other publishers, the meter used to measure the flow of gas through a particular pipe is a gas meter. Before the mid 20th century coal gas was produced in retorts by heating coal in the absence of air and this was first used for municipal lighting, the gas passed through wooden or metal pipes from the retort to the lantern. The first public piped gas supply was to 13 gas lamps, installed along the length of Pall Mall, the credit for this goes to the German inventor and entrepreneur Fredrick Winsor. Digging up streets to lay pipes required legislation and this delayed the roll-out of street lighting and the installation of gas for illumination, heating. Many people had experimented with coal distillation to produce a flammable gas, for instance Jean Tardin, Clayton Jean-Pierre Minckelers, Leuven and Pickel. He had joined Boulton and Watt, at the Soho manufactury, Birmingham in 1777, the system, however lacked a storage method. James Watt Junior adapted a Lavoisier gazomètre for this purpose, a Gasometer was incorporated into the first small gasworks built for the Soho manufactory in 1798. William Murdoch and his pupil Samuel Clegg installed retorts in individual factories, the earliest example was in 1805, at Lee and Phillips, Salford Twist Mill where 8 gasholders were installed. This was shortly followed by one in Sowerby Bridge, constructed by Clegg for Henry Lodge, public gas lights were seen as a crime reduction measure and as such, and until the 1840s, regulation lay with the Police Authority rather than the elected council. Safety concerns expressed by the Royal Society, limited the size of gasholders to 6,000 cubic feet, in the United States, however where the gas needed to be protected from extreme weather, gasometer houses continued to be built and were architecturally decorative
30,000m3 BF gas holder at Rautaruukki Steel in Finland
A two-lift braced column-supported gas holder in West Ham, East London
A dry-seal Wiggins-type gas holder
A mirrored installation in the re-located King's Cross Gas Holder Number 8., London.