HL Deb 16 March 1860 vol 157 cc716-7

presented a petition from Gas Meter Manufacturers of Great Britain in meeting assembled, complaining of the delay in carrying out the provisions of the Act for regulating measures used in the Sale of Gas. He said that by the Act of last Session models of gas-meters were to have been deposited in the office of Exchequer for the purpose of having accurate meters distributed throughout the country. Six months had transpired, however, since the passing of the Act, and no models had been deposited. The time was approaching when it would be necessary by law to have duly certified meters, and the gas companies began to be in doubt as to what would be done. The Act required that an instrument, called a gas-holder, should be prepared with balances and other things for the proper measurement of gas. This instrument was well known as a standard by which gas-meters were tested. The Astronomer Royal, however, under whose management the scientific details were placed, was induced for some reason or the other to adopt another instrument, which he at first proposed to call a "transferrer," by which the gas-holder might be tested. But this instrument was quite unfit for the testing of the meters themselves. The consequence was that no models were as yet deposited in the Exchequer; and at present there was no means of supplying the deficiency. The question seemed to him (Lord Redesdale) to involve very considerable difficulties; but he thought on the whole that the Act would be found to work when some of its provisions were modified according to the experience of its practical working. But he hoped the Government would consider the course they meant to pursue, because within twelve months no legal sale of gas could take place except by means of a stamped meter, and it was necessary that some immediate steps should be taken.


observed, that the Board of Trade and the Exchequer were jointly commissioned with the execu- tion of this measure. They had consulted the Astronomer Royal, who made certain objections to a gas-measurer. The Treasury then consulted the Board of Trade as to whether the Act would require any Amendment, but the opinion of the Board of Trade was that no Amendments would be necessary. Communications were still going on, but he had reason to hope that arrangements would soon be made to meet the inconvenience of which the petitioners complained.


feared that unless the Act was amended the expectation of its framers would be disappointed.


said, he understood that the measurement of gas had been carried on for a long time at Berlin, and he believed at Paris, but certainly throughout Prussia, and there was no reason why it should not be accomplished in this country. The regulation of weights and measures had always been considered an Imperial question; and he had no doubt that the Act would work well when its defects came to be discovered by its practical application.