The Hamilton By-Products Coke Company of Canada Ltd.’s Gasometer loomed at the eastern edge of Brightside. Its tall cylindrical scaffold contained a huge inflatable bladder that rose when filled with gas and sank as that gas was used to light and heat the homes, businesses, and streets of Hamilton. Nearby, just across Depew Street, lay tall piles of coke that kids would use for winter tobogganing.
Listen: Brightside's Enlightening Gasometer. Click the play circle below.
So, the coal came from West Virginia, or Ohio, or wherever - West Virginia largely.
And some from Canada.
They brought the coal into this company - the coke ovens company - and the coke ovens company took the coal and made coke out of it.
Hence, they were called the Coke Company.
The coke went to Stelco.
To be in the blast furnace.
Coke + limestone + iron ore.
You cook it in the blast furnace – out comes the molten iron.
But what they burned off from the coal…
… was gas.
The gas went in the tank.
When the gas was in the tank the bag rose.
When they let the gas out to light the streets on the city, the gas thing went down….
I used to watch that all the time - in the morning it goes up and by nighttime down.
…and that’s how all the streets of Hamilton.
The streetlights were lit [slap] by the people of Brightside!