The public street lighting in Brno was introduced in 1781
The public street lighting in Brno was introduced in 1781 on the occasion of the visit of Russian heir to the throne, Paul Petrovich, and his spouse Maria Fedorovna on their journey to Vienna. Since 1743 there were negotiations among Prague, Brno and Vienna concerning lighting streets and squares in Brno. This visit significantly helped to speed up these negotiations. Until then people had to take care about lighting during the night by themselves – everyone who was walking in the streets after dark had to carry his own lantern.
As of November 1, 1781 there were 277 tallow lamps erected in the streets of Brno. The street lighting was only in the inner city, outside the city walls there were no lamps. Since 1841 the tallow lamps were replaced by oil lamps.
The year 1846 represented a new epoch in the lighting of Brno streets and squares. In this year the “Company for gas lighting” was established and the city council made a contract with this company concerning the street lighting. However, the following negotiations dragged on and gas lighting started only on January 1, 1849. Brno suburbs got their first gas lighting in 1860. Until then the oil was used for street lighting and some suburbs had no lighting at all.
On December 30, 1896 the City of Brno took over the gasworks and thus also over the street lighting. By then there were 1,870 gas lamps and 13 paraffin lamps in the streets. Since 1897 the Auer burners were used which increased the luminous intensity and at the same time decreased the gas consumption.
An important milestone in the history of the Brno street lighting is the year 1901 when the first six electric lamps were erected in the Great Square (today’s Freedom Square). There had been two electric arc lamps in front of the City Theatre even two years earlier but those were switched off after the theatre performance. In 1902, two new electric arc lamps were built in the Railway Station Square. In that year there were 12 electric arc lamps, 2148 gas lamps and 44 paraffin lamps in the streets of Brno. In 1914, the City Council approved the electric lighting of certain parts of the city.