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Power Struggles
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Power Struggles: Scientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity Before Edison

Michael Brian Schiffer


In 1882, Thomas Edison and his Edison Electric Light Company unveiled the first large-scale electrical system in the world to light a stretch of offices in a city. This was a monumental achievement, but it was not the beginning of the electrical age. The first electric generators were built in the 1830s, the earliest commercial lighting systems before 1860, and the first commercial application of generator-powered lights (in lighthouses) in the early 1860s. This book examines some of these earlier efforts, both successful and unsuccessful, that paved the way for Edison. After laying out a unif ... More

Keywords: Thomas Edison, electrical system, electric generators, commercial lighting, Volta, electrochemical battery, electric motor, telegraph, Joseph Henry, electrical technologies

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780262195829
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262195829.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Brian Schiffer, author