After installing his first central electric station in New York City, Thomas Edison realized he'd have to cut the cost of delivering electricity to be commercially successful. Two months later, in November 1882, he applied for a patent covering what is known as the "three-wire system." This system used 60% less copper, shaving 25% off his costs. To test the system, he built a generating plant in Sunbury, Penn., and extended a three-wire line to the City Hotel. On the night of July 4, 1883, he switched on the current to a 100-candle-power light over the hotel entrance. The hotel was renamed the Edison Hotel, in honor of the engineer's success.
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Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Fun Fact:The Sunbury hotel's insulated electrical wiring consisted of a cotton-covered wire soaked in paraffin and coated with white-lead. Officially called "Underwriter's wire," it was commonly known as "Undertaker's wire," because of its tendency to short out during lightning storms.