Thursday, November 10, 2011

Electricity in Chicago World Fair

There are many aspects of Chicago World Fair reflect the Gilded Age transformation. However, one of many aspects is eminent. That part is electricity. At that period, there were two people led the development of the electricity, one is Thomas Alva Edison, and another is George Westinghouse. Both of them had great distributions for developing electricity, and they also made their inventions into normal people’s lives. At the same time, they exhibited their inventions in the Chicago World Fair.
Edison made significant improvements to the idea of incandescent light, and wound up in the public consciousness as ‘the inventor’ of the light bulb. After thousands of experiments for testing the most durable material for the filament, Edison finally found the carbonized bamboo, which could work for over 1200 hours. He built Edison Electric Light Company in 1878, and demonstrated his experiment for public in 1879. During this time, Thomas said a sentence that ‘We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.’ Thomas tried to spread his DC to the entire country, and even the world. Although there were some limitations of using DC, such as transportation and quantity, Thomas was still one of the greatest inventors in human history.

Living in the same period, another great person who had distinguished distribution on electricity was George Westinghouse. He was the main rival of Edison in the early process of building American electricity system. Westinghouse intended to use AC, which based on the Nikola Tesla instead of Edison’s DC. Even Edison insisted that AC was more dangerous than DC, but Westinghouse finally won this competition.

 There was a special building for showing the development of electricity in Chicago World Fair, and both Edison and Westinghouse exhibited their productions in there. In the World Fair, both companies tried to show their bests to persuade and encourage people using their electricity system. It was also the first time for people to know some details about electricity. Unlike other inventions, people could not see the structure of electricity. The World Fair provided an excellent to show people how did electricity work, also the entire World Fair had electric lights that provided by Westinghouse’s company. It was also a reason for the nickname of White City. 

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