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Gas for the Masses: 1908

Gas for the Masses: 1908

Detroit circa 1908. "Gas office, first floor, looking back; cashier windows at right." The lobby of the Detroit City Gas Company. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Small bills

Those cashier stalls with heavy iron bars and thick glass look like they're expecting hold-ups. And to think back in those days people were simply dropping by to pay their $2 or $3 gas bills.

Its a Gas!

Its no surprise they would be showcasing stoves in the lobby, Detroit was once the "Stove Capital of the World", and we used to boast of the world's largest stove, until ironically it burned down!

110 years later

... if I were to pay in person, or even at the drive-thru, it feels more like I'm at a corner check cashing business than anything so fancy. That shows the difference in the product per era. You do not have to sell utilities, you just have to have it. And the commercials look more like the type of PR produced because there's been a scandal. However, my local electric still sells electric appliances. I assume that's rare.


One of my late bosses used to chew and had a cuspidor. Trouble is he missed as often as he was on target. When he retired (without telling anyone), that thing sat in his office because none of the cleaning staff wanted to touch it.

Use the Cuspidor

Someone has done a fine job of taking care of the spittoons. I remember going to work in 1977 at a chemical plant, and there was one in every control room. And the low man on the totem pole got the unenviable job of cleaning the spittoon every day.

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