Klaipėda Gas Factory

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The Klaipėda Gas Factory was built in 1860-1861 designed by J. Hartman, director of the Königsberg Gas Factory. The gas factory (company) was established in 1857, and in November 1861 the gas storage tanks began to operate, reflecting the gas storage facilities from around the 19th century. Klaipėda’s urban economy, which is being modernised in the middle of the year. Three of the 28 factory buildings have survived: a two-storey red-brick administration building with an apartment for the director and two octagonal red-brick gas storage tanks. Initially, the gas factory produced gas only for lighting, but later it was extended to stoves and industrial plants. Coke, tar, ammonia water, benzene and saltpeter were also produced. In the post-war period, the buildings of the gas factory were converted into flats, and people lived there until 1981. The “small” gas storage facility is currently home to a classic car exhibition showing the early years of the 19th century – 20th century old cars.

A more detailed history

Until the 18th century, there were only two known sources of light: daylight and fire. Until the end of the 17th century, there was no street lighting. Klaipėda was also drowned in darkness in the evenings until the 19th century when the city gates were closed, the buoys were lowered across the Danube, and the harbour and the city went dark. Only in the early 19th century, when the King of Prussia and his family temporarily settled in the city (1807-1808), lights appeared here and there, and from 1838 onwards, the streets of Klaipėda were permanently illuminated.
Gas has been known since the 17th century, but it was not until 1860 that the Klaipėda City Municipality decided to build a gas plant at its own expense. Initially, it was thought to be built near the Dange, a sailing shipyard. However, in 1861, soil tests showed that the site was unsuitable for construction. Therefore, the gas factory was built on the road to the Louise estate, which later became an extension of Liepų Street. The new location was not convenient, as the coal used to produce the gas had to be transported from the Danube harbour by wagons. Only later (1921-1923) was the factory connected to the city’s railway by rails.

The gas factory was built according to a design by J.Hartmann, the director of the Königsberg Gas Factory. Hartmann was in charge of the construction of the factory. The factory gave birth to the city’s enterprise zone, which was later followed by a waterworks and a slaughterhouse. The factory complex consisted of fourteen buildings of different sizes and shapes: rhetor and steam boiler shops, apparatus room, boiler house, cooling plant, pressure control room, gas storage room, workshops, warehouses, foremen’s dwelling house and other buildings. The more prominent houses are grouped along the street: a gas storage facility, an administrative building with an apartment for the director. Im 1867 a second storage facility, similar to the first, is built next to the gas storage facility. The gas was stored in metal tanks, which were lined with a masonry shell to leave a gap. These three red brick buildings have survived to this day.

Large lanterns were also sometimes architectural accents. 19th century. At the end of the year, a magnificent candelabra with five lanterns was placed in the square of the railway station – the lanterns were held up by decorative metal eagles. More ornate gas lanterns were installed at the Biržos Bridge, while other streets in the city were equipped with standard metal lanterns. Bracketed gas lanterns were used both for advertising and to illuminate the narrow streets of the old town. In the larger public pasathas, the lanterns were mounted on the pillars of the masonry fence.

The gas lanterns at the Louise Gymnasium were installed in 1891, and in the spring of 2011, Lietuvos dujos repaired the gas lanterns. The lights are now back on using gas supplied by Lietuvos dujos.