The first pioneer settlers in the Rowlett area used candles or flames from the fireplace as a light source. They were frequently off to bed right after sundown, up at daybreak and rarely used candles since they were considered a precious commodity. They had not even heard of electricity.
Kerosene lamps were later introduced and a new sense of night time freedom seemed to emerge. Lorene Lockard Raney (1902 -1999) once told about how the Aladdin lamp had brought a big change in night life. The older kerosene lamps used a wick to draw the fuel from the reservoir, but the Aladdin lamp held a mantle above the flame that caused a much brighter glow. She said that, “You could light up an entire room once the Aladdin lamps came out.” Lorene also said that those lamps were prized possessions. “Herman and Rita Pelton came by here in their wagon. It was sometime around 1927. Me and Clyde took our wagon and we all went into Wylie. I wanted Herman and Rita to come inside and see the light from our new Aladdin lamp when we got back, but Herman said they needed to get on home before dark. “I was so disappointed. I’ll never forget that day.”
Note: I hope someone took good care of that lamp after they passes. It was one of their most prized possessions.
Electricity came to Rowlett in 1924, but it would be several years later before it was available in the outlying areas. It seems that J. E. “Ed” Coyle replaced his old gin plants with new modern electric motor driven plants and made a deal with the electric company to run the power lines into Rowlett. He would agree to pay $2,000 cash and promise to buy an electric cook stove for his home in order to close the deal. The power company agreed to run the lines and downtown Rowlett got electricity in 1924.
Photo: Clyde & Lorene Raney With Aladdin Lamp.