With six major gas companies serving New York City, the streets were constantly being torn up by one company or another installing or repairing their own mains — or removing those of a rival. From time to time, work crews from competing companies would inadvertently meet on the same street and literally battle for customers, giving rise to the term 'gas house gangs.'Competition in overlapping franchise areas and unreasonable price-cutting were bringing some gas companies to the brink of financial ruin. In May 1880, the city's major gas companies came to an agreement on the price of gas and ended the construction of competitive mains, a business arrangement that would be unlawful today but was legal, and sensible, at the time. Just as company executives were looking forward to the financial stability and profitability the agreement would bring, a new problem was brewing. In December 1879, Thomas Edison demonstrated his newest invention — the incandescent light bulb. As the electric lamp quickly became the light of choice, gas companies countered by finding new uses for their product and touted the benefits of gas for heating and cooking.But the future survival of the gas business seemed to depend on consolidation. On November 10, 1884, executives from the New York, Manhattan, Harlem, Metropolitan, Municipal, and Knickerbocker Gas Light companies gathered at Manhattan Gas Light's 4 Irving Place headquarters (the present-day location of Con Edison's headquarters) and agreed to combine their businesses into the Consolidated Gas Company of New York.