thomas edison > a lifetime of invention : inventing the incandescent lamp
thomas edison > inventing the incandescent lamp : edison's competitors


Edison’s Competitors

Thomas Edison was not the only inventor focusing on electrical systems.  Charles Brush of Cleveland, OH developed one of the first direct current systems and orchestrated the first illuminations of New York City and Niagara Falls.  In 1880 Brush created the first municipal lighting plant in Wabash, IN, which lit its downtown with 4 large arc-lamps.

Elihu Thomson was a Philadelphia high school chemistry teacher had had the challenged the popular definition of electricity in the 1870s and became a leader in electrical research through his involvement with the Franklin Institute.  Thomson partnered with one of his students, Edwin W. Rice, Jr. and a Boston shoe manufacturer named Charles Coffin, to develop the Thomson-Houston Company.  Thomson developed some of the most powerful direct current systems of the 1870s, and by the mid 1880s had made the transition to alternating current research. His company became the most profitable of the early electrical companies.


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