Power Struggles: Scientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity BeforeEdison

Power Struggles: Scientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity BeforeEdison

by 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… See more details below

Overview

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. In Power Struggles, Michael Brian Schiffer examines some of the earlier efforts (some successful and some unsuccessful) that paved the way for Edison.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262195829
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Series:
Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Brian Schiffer is Fred A. Riecker Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona and Research Associate at the Lemelson Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of six previous books on technology.

Table of Contents

1 Studying technological change 1

2 Technological transitions 11

3 Electromagnetism revealed 21

4 An American physicist 31

5 Telegraphic visions 41

6 Mechanical electricity 49

7 The blacksmith's motor 63

8 The chemistry connection 75

9 A peculiar calling 91

10 Hard times 105

11 It's a blast 119

12 "What hath God wrought!" 137

13 Magnetic power derailed 155

14 Humbug! 175

15 Action at a distance 191

16 First light 207

17 If at first you don't succeed 221

18 A thousand points of light 239

19 Machine-age electricity 255

20 A beacon of modernity 271

21 Enter Edison 283

22 New light 299

Notes 317

References 385

Index 415

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