In today’s modern age how lost would we be without electricity? We take for granted the presence of lights, computers, rechargeable batteries and voltage regulators because, as a generation, we have always had them. The history of American electricity shows us that each of these items we use daily is truly a wonder of innovation and imagination combined with science and experimentation.
Edison Creates the Pearl Station
While Edison had previously created the light bulb, the actual use of electricity required a system of generation and distribution before it could become usable by American people. In 1882, Thomas Edison’s team opened the Pearl Street station in Manhattan. The high cost of electric service and the limitation of using direct current (DC) caused the station to not be a money maker for several years. This type of station was built in several cities, but the limitations meant that each one only powered a few blocks of homes.
Westinghouse Uses Alternating Current
The first commercial alternating current (AC) power system was the Westinghouse Niagara power plant. Designed in 1886, the plant didn’t come to fruition until 1896. The invention of the Tesla coil in 1891 made it possible to transmit electricity over long distances. Most large towns and cities had electricity by 1930, but farms and rural areas did not.
Part of the reason for this was that there was no regulation on electric services and the companies were privately owned. These companies felt it would be too expensive to run power lines to rural areas where the farmers were too poor to afford the service.
Rural Electric Administration
President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electric Administration in 1935 to help regulate electric service and help farmers get electricity and electric appliances. By 1939, 25% of the country’s rural homes had electricity. Regulation of electricity rates angered many power station owners, but the President acted in the best interest of all the citizens and made electricity affordable for all.
While there are different currents used all around the world for electricity, these first milestones helped the world become what it is today. Further advances in electricity have been discovered and are becoming more popular as different countries work for a greener and more environmentally friendly way of powering the people. Clean water acts, clean air acts, and constant studies of how to more efficiently use renewable energy sources have led to changes in everything from how we fuel our cars to the types of light bulbs we use in our homes.
If you travel the world you may find that you need a 110 to 220 volt converter or vice versa to power up your electronic devices, but, overall, electricity is available in all countries and even remote areas where you wouldn’t expect it.
Does every mile of the globe need to have access to electricity? Not necessarily, but the convenience of using electronic devices has led to some pretty surprising and innovative powering options for the places where there is no electricity. No matter to where you are traveling, make sure you visit 110220Volts to get your voltage converters and regulators so that you can take advantage of the electric service at your destination.