Wednesday, September 08, 2021
Kelly's Kids: May 21 1899
A delightful episode of Kelly's Kids has them learning about the wonders of electricity. How novel was it in 1899? Broadway was first lit up experimentally in 1880, and Edison opened up a power plant in 1882 that could power a whopping 5000 electric lights. By the 1890s some homes were electrified, but probably none in the Kelly's tenement district.
In the nineteenth century, Electricity was not generally understood by the greater public, it's possibilities were mystifying, and possibly terrifying. In an 1889 PUCK magazine, a cover cartoon showed Electricity as a marauding monster, coming down a street, shooting out lightning bolts, killing people right and left.
Full electrification of our country took a bit longer than people think. My Great-grandfather lived in a large city in New England, but he didn't have electricity installed until 1934.