The Day Edison Flipped the Switch


After devising a commercially viable electric light bulb on October 21, 1879, Thomas Edison went on to develop an electric “utility” designed to compete with the then existent gas lighting utilities. In 1880, he founded the Edison Illuminating Company. The company established the first investor-owned electric utility in 1882 on Pearl Street Station in New York City.

It was there, on this date in 1882, that Edison switched on his Pearl Street generating station’s electrical power distribution system, which provided 110 volts of direct current (DC) to 59 customers in lower Manhattan.

Earlier in the year, he had switched on the first steam-generating power station at Holborn Viaduct in London. The DC supply system provided electricity supplies to street lamps and several private dwellings within a short distance of the station. On January 19, 1883, the first standardized incandescent electric lighting system employing overhead wires began service in Roselle, New Jersey.

Thomas Edison was an innovator like no other. We owe him far more than most Americans realize. But the real secret behind Mr. Edison was this – he used his giftedness for the benefit of others.

That’s all God wants any of us to do. There comes a time when we need to quit doing what we have always done in order to do what we were born to do.


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