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The 80's and the electric power

The 80's and the electric power

In 1881 the chief of the florentine work shop, the French René Louis Lalouette, signed the new contract with the Council, therefore the gas industry had finally reached the defently maturity. The new strategy established, by now including many companies all over Italy, expected a distribution of the costs instead of spreading market shares. The intensive exploitation of the implants caused very soon a serious drop of the production structure, also the Lyonnaise did not escape at this logic.Although everything a budget registrated in the half of the 80's, the moment of apparition on the scene of electric power, brought great satisfaction to the florentine case, the patrimony, based on the pubblic lanterns, was of all respect and the one of the head leader was in continue increase. 
The spreading of the gas industries and its earnings lasted for forty years.Later on, since the first years of the (80's), a new form of energy entered the scene as an alternative for the pubblic illumination of the city, gaining authority very fastely.

The competition developed between gas and electricity lasted for twenty years, but the winner had already tooked shape since the beginning, bounding gas towards a decline in the illumination sector and to a progressive extension of alternative uses. "The electric light - as Filippo Albanelli, president of the Italgas the mayor producer and distributer company of gas in Italy, affirmed , with the apparition on stage of the electric power, - that since the beginning appealed to gas so to generate and spread his luminous radiation, it will not be the gas that will do war but in the darkness". 

The provision was completely mistaken, whatever it had not been a simple victory, the companies in all over the country settled a though resistance, choosing the open way through judicial conflictuality against the municipal administrations attracted by the electricity, but in the most of the times and circumstances they always got convicted.

Also in the resticted florentine microcosm the success obtained by the new industry was clear and evident, but extremely suffered, and contrary at what happened at the moment of introduction of gas, solicited also the local industrialists. 

So the Council Committee did not avoid the possibility of introducing in the city the electric illumination and since 1886 started many researches in an unknown territory. The Lyonnaise replied proposing immediately it self for the occupation of this space.Meanwhile the Council was overloaded by continue requests of electric light implants, from Italy either from abroad, contributing in maturing, in the city, the convintion that the pubblic illumination transformation should be now necessary. The florentine administrators were very pleased for the particular sagacity reported by one of the candidate at the service concession, later imitated also by others, the illumination of the new face of the cathedral, that assembled with the fifth centenary of Donatello's birth offered the input for a great initiative.

All the offers had been accepted by the town hall with great enthusiasm and the town council decided to accept the offer presented by the most important italian electric company, the Edison.It had been certainly very exiciting the evening spectacle offered by the electric illumination on 12th of May 1887:

"A big beam of light - we read it on a booklet of time - coming from the extreme angle of the Ponte Vecchio, towards the Lungarno Acciaioli, was throwed with a vague effect upon the royal stage and beated again on the water of the river". 

And still: "Palazzo Vecchio and the Cathedral were artistically illuminated, and the elegance and majesty of the Tower and of the Dome stands up brightly on the obscure bottom of the sky". 

Also the most famous streets were electrically illuminated and on that evening the citizens discovered how much the new light was much better than that trembling and weak gas light. The success of the initiative had been soon changed in a real love for it, a such deep love that created an active opinion movement, supported also by the electric companies engaged in the research of a better position such as the one Florence had. The fire that broke out due to the gas coming from the Prince Umberto theater, speeded up the stimulus towards the introduction of electricity, but the contract with the Lyonnaise stopped every Council's decision. For this reason none of the many offers had been accepted, but the standard of relations with the French society got considerably worse.The French society had never enjoyed a big fame in the city and with the end of the 80's its quotations precipitated. The society was opposed by a group of economical and social forces, generated not from a political party but from a spontaneous movement supplied by a strong resentment towards the french arrogance.

Comune di Firenze
Servizi dell'area fiorentina

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