A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers

B B G Gas Co

Brooklyn Borough Gas Co.

cover image

Brooklyn Borough Gas Co.

This is one of the last reminders of one of the more notable business stories of the early years of the 20th Century. The Brooklyn Borough Gas Company was one of many independent gas plants that emerged in the late 19th Century, before the advent of electric lighting. This company based on Coney Island, outlasted all but one, Brooklyn Union Gas Company (now National Grid) until it was finally bought out in 1959. Most notable was that this company was successfully headed by a woman, Mary E. Dillon, for much of that time.


This is a simple hand-valve cover with only 4 small corner triangles as Decoration. The GAS in the center is of course redundant but it is clear, and also is a precursor to gas-main covers today which usually only say "GAS", nothing more need be said in a monopoly.


Valve Cover


Located on Atlantic Avenue near the BQE, this cover is a bit out of range for the company, which was based in Coney Island and Gravesend. This is the only example from this company that I have seen.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs