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Gothic Sponge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:47 AM
Original message
Electricity first appeared in homes in what year?
Edited on Mon Oct-11-04 11:52 AM by Gothic_Sponge
My landscaper and i were talking about my house. He asked what year it was built? I told him around the 1920s. He said "that's before the days when they had electricity in homes." (he was serious) I didn't correct him, because i didn't want to embarrass him. After he left, i thought to myself, what year did electricity first appear in homes? I alway thought it was around the 1890s, but maybe i'm wrong. Anyone?
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. WIdespread, probably 1919-1920
Right after WWI.

The rich had electricity back in the 1890s, though.

--bkl
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jdots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. hey you guys have them electric lights ?
the electrical grids went to citys first and some parts of the country didn't get it till the 30s public works programs.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. "Rural Electrification"
Remember the TVA -- Tennessee Valley Administration? It was designed to bring electricity to the "hillbillies".

One of the most successful Federal programs using The Taxpayers' Dollars ever!

All Republican "red states", naturally.

--bkl
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
2. Oh, It's Definitely Before 1920
Edited on Mon Oct-11-04 11:55 AM by ribofunk
On Edit: Here's a reference:

==========================

It was in the late 1870s when America's greatest inventor -- Thomas Alva Edison -- developed and built the first electricity generating plant in New York City.

Electric lighting came to Chicago in 1880, when the Palmer House Hotel installed electric lights in time for that year's Republican National Convention. Later that year in Philadelphia the first electric lights were strung along a ten-block stretch of Chestnut Street. A year later John Wanamaker installed electric lights in his new department store. The age of electricity had arrived!

---snip

By 1920 all of the nation's major cities had competing electric companies, each with its own sets of poles and wires. In order to bring service to more people, states began adopting laws providing for a single electric company in each city. From these laws grew the "regulatory compact" which formed the foundation of the electric utility industry in the U.S. for nearly eight decades.

http://www.ucm.com/corporate/community/b_hist_el.shtml


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olddem43 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
3. I think you are right - I recall that the light bulb was invented
around 1875 and I think that electricity was available at least by the very early 1900s in cities. I have seen pictures from the early 1900s that show electric poles and wires.
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flamingyouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
4. Well, the Electricity House at the 1893 world's fair in Chicago was
a big hit, and I think it started to take off from there. By the 1901 fair in Buffalo (where McKinley was assassinated), it had really taken off among the elite. That's when they started harnessing hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls, right around then.

My house was built in 1914 and was wired for electricity.

There, now you've had your flamingyouth trivia for the day. :)
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Gothic Sponge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. DId you Google that, or was it stuck in your brain?
:)
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flamingyouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Sadly, it's stuck in my brain
Such is my life.
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Fenris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Hooray for nerdism!
:D
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Gothic Sponge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Can you tell me the history of plumbing?
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flamingyouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I do know that King Minos of Crete had the first flushing toilet
That was almost 3,000 years ago. Beyond that, I don't think sewer systems started showing up in American cities until the mid- to late-19th century (sorry for my lack of knowledge on this subject). :)
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
5. In my family
...there was no electricity in the HOME until the late 20's, just before the depression hit. Light came from gas jets, heat from the coal stove, refrigeration from the ice man or the box out the window in the winter. Electricity was common in shops, but not in some of the more established neighborhoods.
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Gothic Sponge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Wow! The late 20s!
I know my home must of been built with electricity. It's an old summer home that was used by some rich folks that lived in the city.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. It was SOP for the neighborhood
Working class people, mostly Irish. No one had cars either. You drove those hush puppies you were wearing or you took the streetcar.
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amber dog democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
7. before 1900 - certaianly
in some of the more affluant homes. There would be a transition trending from gas lighting to elecricity in the mid to late 1890s.

Police stations, fire dept stations, and certainly arcades and theaters would have had them. Flourescent lighting got started around late 1880s.

Certainly by 1895 ships, both commercial and military were making use of dynamos and elecrtic motors and lighting.- not to mention fans do provide forced draft for the firerooms.
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
8. nevermind
Edited on Mon Oct-11-04 12:01 PM by DS1
:7
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CO Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
11. It Depends Where You Live
Edited on Mon Oct-11-04 12:03 PM by CO Liberal
The cities got electricity back in the 1880s and 1890s, but many smaller towns did not get it until the Rural Electrification Act (REA) in FDR's New Deal brought electricity to Rural America.

And even then, not all places were electrified. For example, my grandparents had a farm outside Vineland, NJ. I remember them using kerosene lamps when I visited as a small child. They didn't get electricity until 1956, when I was four.
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Gothic Sponge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. 1956! Damn!
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CO Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Yep - 1956
And they had a pitcher pump by the kitchen sink, a wood stove in the kitchen for heat, and an outhouse back by the barn.

My father wanted to put indoor plumbing in, but my grandfather wouldn't let him. Dad finally put in a flush toilet for Grandma in 1963 - two years after Grandpa died.

But the house still had a stove in the kitchen for heat up until the time my aunt (who never married and stayed in the farmhouse) died in 2000.
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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Commonwealth Edison story:

http://www.exeloncorp.com/corporate/community/b_hist_el...

History of Electricity

It was in the late 1870s when America's greatest inventor -- Thomas Alva Edison -- developed and built the first electricity generating plant in New York City.

Electric lighting came to Chicago in 1880, when the Palmer House Hotel installed electric lights in time for that year's Republican National Convention. Later that year in Philadelphia the first electric lights were strung along a ten-block stretch of Chestnut Street. A year later John Wanamaker installed electric lights in his new department store. The age of electricity had arrived!

Soon numerous electric companies were competing to supply power in the nation's major cities. The focus was on business customers, although some wealthy homeowners had electric lighting installed. Because generation capacity was so limited most homes could only have three or four electric lights. And homeowners often had to turn off one light before they could turn on another.

By 1920 all of the nation's major cities had competing electric companies, each with its own sets of poles and wires.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. Figures the Republicans
...would be the first ENERGY HOGS.
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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. "And they left the lights on all night." nt
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claudiajean Donating Member (338 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
19. Edison invented the precursor to the modern light bulb in 1879...
...prior to that, arc lanterns using electricity had been used for street lighting in a few large cities.

But the arc lanterns were problematic in operation, thus Edison's quest for a long lasting, replaceable electric "candle" to use in electric lamps. His breakthrough was finding a filament material that would glow and not break so quickly - once he discovered that fine cotton cord soaked in carbon and dries would work, he was off and running.

Edison's Pearl Street Power Station began operation on September 4, 1882, and lighted the homes and offices of about 85 customers in lower Manhattan.

By the early 1890's, nearly every significant city had electric streetcars and electric lamps. Wealthy residents also had homes with electricity for lamps, and early telephones.

The use of electricity spread quickly, much like the use of personal computers did in our time.

By the 1920's, electricity was commonplace in urban areas. My house in a major city was built in 1922 in a working class neighborhood at the time -- fully wired and expecting some electric appliances (a plug was even positioned high on the wall next to the built-in ironing board in the kitchen for the electric iron - so the cord wouldn't get in the way of the person ironing.) And I own a tiny two bedroom Craftsman bungalow - so my home was intended to be for a lower middle class family. This would indicate that by 1922 electricity was becoming a household necessity, available to average working folks, not a luxury.

During the Depression, one of Roosevelt's New Deal-era initiatives was the electrification of America. However, electricity in rural, agricultural areas did not become widespread and commonplace until after WWII -- all those GI's coming home with a more worldly outlook and aware of the technology available off the farm brought a wave of phones and electricity to the last of the un-wired.
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brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
24. My Mom...
was born in 1907. She remembered gas lights in the house - but I always had the feeling she was pretty young when the electric was installed. They were moderately well-off, so I think they'd have gotten it as soon it became available. I'm guessing 1912ish?
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ChoralScholar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-11-04 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
25. There is a house in Texarkana, TX
called the Ace of Clubs. It is built in the shape of a club. It was also built in 1885.

http://www.texarkanamuseums.org/ace_of_clubs_house.htm

While taking the tour, the guide noted that the lights were dual electric and gas, because the owners didn't feel as if the 'electricity fad' would last.

Just an anecdote.
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