Fads: A New-Old Era

Onward, ever onward, sweeps technology toward a bright electronic world. And backward, ever backward, points the whimsical finger of fashion. Latest case in point: gas lamps.

That mellow old glow of mantled gas is bathing the front walks and herbaceous borders of thousands of ranchstyles, split-levels, Cape Cod saltboxes and California moderns—lending what their owners hope is a touch of antiquarian distinction in a fluorescent world. In 1914, before the miracle of cheap electricity made them obsolete, some 290,000 gas lamps illuminated U.S. streets. Today there are no fewer than 1,075,000.

The boom, not exactly discouraged by the gas companies, began...

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