The French word for gas lantern – "réverbère" – originates from the Latin verb "reverbere", which means "to hit". Technically speaking, the light from the lamp is magnified when it "hits" mirrors in the lantern. Ever since towns came into being, people have always sought a solution for public lighting that is aesthetically pleasing as well as safe. The Romans pursued this quest by setting up a system of lighting for the main city districts with the help of torches and oil lamps. The use of reflective lanterns for public lighting dates back to the start of the 19th century: the gas lanterns that were used back then had to be lit by hand every day.