I'm over at Word Wenches today, talking about light, and how folks avoided being the thing that went bump in the night and banged its shins in 1800 or so.
"How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world." William Shakespeare
For the most part, people took the low tech approach. Daily life followed the sun. Country folk got up with the chickens, not just because the chickens were making an almighty determined racket, but because there was a day of work to get to. Every hour the family stayed awake past sunset cost money.
They made good use of the daylight while they had it. The well-to-do had tall windows in their houses, the better to invite the sunlight inside. Even the stables had windows. If you want to shell peas or sew some fine embroidery, you took it to the window seat or went out to sit on the doorstep of the cottage. The hero is apt to find the heroine reading a letter on the garden bench because that's where there light was good.
"When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I'm sure it made the work seem that much more urgent. "
The rest at WordWenches here.