Flipping the Switch on a New Age

Bourne Denby English Arts & Crafts "Orientware" Ceramic Lamp (LEO Design)

On this day in 1882, Thomas Edison flipped the switch at his Pearl Street electrical generation plant, thereby electrifying one square mile of lower Manhattan—59 customers in all.  Having invented and patented the electric light bulb two years earlier, Edison had turned his attention to creating an electric delivery infrastructure to compete with similar utilities which supplied gas.  In 1880, he founded The Edison Illuminating Company.  Two years later, on this day, Edison’s time and investment made its dramatic debut—and the Electrical Age was born.

The ceramic lamp pictured above was made some four decades later in England .  The existence of such an object shows how Thomas Edison’s effort and ingenuity improved the lives of people the world over.  


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