Time to be illuminated, in a break from golf but still on a sporting theme, 136 years ago saw Taskers showcase something new to the world and Sheffield.
John Tasker, founder of Taskers Engineering, was set to stage and more importantly power the world’s first floodlit football match at Bramall Lane, he was a pioneer of all things involving wires and rubber including telephones.
The electric power was generated by two portable engines, one behind each goal; and the lamps, one in each corner of the ground, were on wooden towers 30ft high. They were of 8,000 candle-power, and a crowd estimated at nearly 20,000 with many scaling the perimeter walls to catch a glimpse of the electric lights.
The Sheffeld Telegraph reporting the event wrote at the time:
“There was an overwhelming interest in the experiment, and excursionists arrived in large numbers from distant grounds. Between six and seven o’clock, it seemed as if all Sheffield was heading for Bramall Lane. The streets were thronged from all directions. At the game curiosity conquered customary courtesy, and the few who were really interested in the play were obliged to give way to the many who had eyes only for the new lights. Many of the ladies, once within the rays, shot up umbrellas as they would parasols to shield them from the sun at mid-day!”
And so on the 14th October Bramall Lane staged a what turned out to be unique football match – the first in the World to be played under floodlights.
As the 2014 football season kicks off today (Saturday 9th August) and Taskers celebrate their 175th anniversary year its worth looking back at how technological innovations have helped sport develop over the years.