In today’s New York Times morning weekday round-up column New York Today, the paper calls out an important lighting history anniversary that will be of particular interest to those individuals working in lighting. The New York Times writes:
“Though not formally known as a city of lights, New York is almost always incandescent, aglow with amorphous light from millions of bulbs.
On this day in 1882, with the flip of a switch, electric lights brightened our city for the first time.
It happened at Pearl Street Station, the first central power station in the world. Operated by Thomas A. Edison and his Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York, the entity is now Consolidated Edison.
The New York Times building in those days was within the first illuminated square mile.
And though The Times was electrified that day, the story was buried in the “Miscellaneous News” section of the paper.
It’s difficult to imagine a time when “light bulb” didn’t conjure an immediate image in the mind’s eye, but the Times reporter had to try to describe it: “a glass globe about four inches long, and the shape of a dropping tear ... in which is inclosed the carbon horseshoe that gives the light.”
Read The New York Times article from 1882 via the link above (...to try to describe it...). It’s a fascinating snapshot of a particular time and place that is, no doubt, hard for us to image in our 24/7 illuminated world.