Last century, Americans lived and died by the power of small electric motors. Those motors started generators which powered homes, factories, autos and a multitude of other applications. It was the development of these generators that helped to organize society and created specific places of work with the introduction of big cities. The article specifically is largely focused on two particular cities – Chicago in 1890s and Detroit in 1900-1920s.
The Origin of the Edison Electric Incandescent Lamp
In 1879, when Thomas Edison was perfecting his incandescent light bulb, the US city with the most electric lights was Cincinnati, Ohio. By 1886, that number had jumped to over 300,000. Today, there are more than 30 million lightbulbs in the United States alone. How did this happen? It all started with a man named Thomas Edison. In 1879, Edison was working on a way to make an electric light that could be used in homes and businesses. He came up with the idea of using a carbonized filament in a glass bulb. This filament would glow when electricity was passed through it. The first electric lamps were very expensive and only used by rich people. But as Edison continued to work on his invention, the price of the bulbs began to drop. By 1886, they were affordable for many people and were being used in cities all over the United States. Today, electric lighting is taken for granted. But it all started with one man’s invention over 140 years ago.
Geography and Electricity
The United States has an electrical grid that is unrivaled in the world, and it is one of the many reasons why some cities thrive while others do not. The electrical grid provides reliable and affordable electricity to American businesses and households, and it supports a wide range of economic activity. While other countries have begun to invest in their own electrical grids, the United States still maintains a clear lead. The American electric grid is about twice as large as the next closest country, and it provides about 20 percent of the world’s electricity. The Benefits Of The Electric Grid The electric grid is a critical part of the American economy, and it brings numerous benefits to businesses and households. Perhaps most importantly, the electric grid provides reliable electricity that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Businesses rely on electricity to power their factories and offices, while households use it for heating, cooling, lighting, and appliances. In addition to reliability, the electric grid also offers affordability. Electricity prices in the United States are relatively low when compared to other countries, which makes it easier for businesses to operate profitably and for households to afford basic necessities like air conditioning and refrigeration. Finally, the electric grid supports a wide range of economic activity. Many industries require electricity to function properly, including manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, retailing, information technology, and communication. Without access to reliable and affordable electricity, these industries would be much smaller or nonexistent. The
Cities’ Early Power Supply and Benefits
In the early 1800s, American cities were powered by waterwheels and steam engines. These power sources had several benefits for cities. They were relatively clean, quiet, and efficient. They also allowed for the development of factories and other businesses that needed a reliable source of power. Waterwheels and steam engines also had some drawbacks, however. They were expensive to build and maintain, and they required a constant supply of water or coal. Moreover, they could not provide the same amount of power as today’s electric plants. The advent of electricity changed all of this. Electric power is cheaper to generate than either water power or steam power. It is also more versatile; it can be used for lighting, heating, cooling, and a host of other applications. Moreover, electric power can be transmitted over long distances, making it possible to supply cities with power from central generating stations. The widespread use of electricity in cities had a number of important consequences. It spurred economic growth by making factories and businesses more productive. It improved public health by providing clean drinking water and better sanitation. And it made life more convenient and comfortable by providing such amenities as electric lights and refrigeration.
Dangers of Early Electricity
While early electricity was a game-changer for many cities, it also came with a number of dangers. One of the biggest dangers was fires. Early electrical wires were not well insulated and could easily start fires if they came into contact with flammable materials. This was a particular problem in cities where wooden buildings were common. Another danger of early electricity was electrocution. This was most often an issue when people tried to work on electrical lines or equipment without proper training or safety precautions. Electrocutions could also happen if electrical wiring was not installed properly. Finally, early electricity also created a number of health hazards. Some of the earliest electric lights produced a lot of ultraviolet radiation, which can damage skin and eyesight. Electric power plants also produced harmful fumes that could cause respiratory problems.
Cities Survived Without Electricity
In the early 1800s, before electricity was widely available, cities were dimly lit by oil lamps and candles. Streets were filled with horse-drawn carriages, and factories ran on steam power. Today, it’s hard to imagine a city surviving without electricity. Cities are now powered by a complex grid of power plants and transmission lines. Electricity powers our lights, our computers, our homes, and our lives. How did we get from there to here? How did cities survived without electricity? The answer lies in the way that electricity changed the way we live and work. Before electricity, cities were powered by coal-fired power plants. These plants produced both light and heat, but they were also dirty and dangerous. Coal-fired power plants spewed soot and pollutants into the air, which caused health problems for residents of nearby neighborhoods. They also produced large amounts of ash that had to be disposed of somehow. In addition to being dirty and dangerous, coal-fired power plants were also expensive to operate. The cost of coal rose steadily throughout the 19th century, as did the cost of transporting it to cities. This made it difficult for city dwellers to afford reliable access to electricity. The advent of electric power changed all of this. Electric power is generated by clean, safe nuclear reactors or by renewable sources like solar and wind farms. It can be transported long distances without loss through a system of high-voltage wires. And it is
Arguments to Support Blaming Electricity for City Changes
The advent of electricity was a turning point in the development of cities. It allowed for factories to be built and powered, which led to increases in production and jobs. It also made it possible to have streetlights, which made city streets safer and more inviting. Arguments to support blaming electricity for city changes typically focus on how it made factories possible. This created jobs and brought people into cities, but it also resulted in pollution and other negative side effects. Some believe that this is why cities like Detroit have struggled in recent years.
Electricity has definitely changed the game when it comes to city development and economics. Some cities have thrived because of their proximity to power sources, while others have struggled to keep up. It’s interesting to see how such a simple thing as electricity can have such a big impact on the world around us.