Benjamin Franklin is the forefather of electricity. We all know this individual from his famous kite experiment. There are a number of other people who have contributed to the evolution of electricity. G. Marconi, S. Morse, N. Tesla and A. Bell were all contributors in their own way.
There is one last visionary that we are going to talk about in depth. His name is Thomas Edison and he is responsible for the electricity in your home. Thomas Edison is one of the greatest inventors to ever walk the earth. The advances in technology that he will be most remembered for are the light bulb and the first investor-owned electric company.
In 1882, the Pearl Street Generating Station delivered electricity to 59 customers in lower Manhattan via the Edison Illuminating Company. The Pearl Street Station’s primary function was to create electricity via a number of steam engines. Edison noticed during production of this electricity the steam engines were exhausting a large volume of steam. Edison eventually piped this left over steam to a number of neighbouring buildings so they could be heated. He then charged a fee for this service. This ingenuity also credits Edison with founding the world’s first cogeneration plant.
During the early 1900’s most homes in North America were wired with fuse boxes and knob and tube wiring. These components were certainly an improvement at the time, but proved to be dangerous in the years that followed. After fuse boxes and knob and tube wiring, breaker panels and branch circuits that carried a better sheathing for added protection were introduced.
Up until about the 1960’s copper was the predominant conductor for branch circuits. During this time copper became expensive and Aluminum was used as an alternative. Unfortunately, a number of problems arose from the use of aluminum in branch circuits. Near the start of the 1970’s copper was brought back into the industry to mitigate all the hazards that are associated with aluminum branch wiring.
When considering the evolution of electricity one should take into account that the first homes were outfitted with 30 amp fuse boxes at best. Modern homes are now outfitted with a 200 amp breaker panel. This means that over a 135 year period the need for power in a residential application has increased by almost 700 percent.
Our modern day homes and lives would be unequivocally different without the luxury of electricity. During some notable ice storms that have caused power outages in recent years, complete cities and their residents experienced state of emergencies. These states of emergencies were essentially caused by the switch on your wall being temporarily inoperative.
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