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Electricity History: Brush’s Birthday

March 16, 2018

Thomas Edison’s legacy as chief architect of the modern electric system overshadows many other pioneers. A commercial power system installed by Charles F. Brush preceded Edison’s 1882 launch of Pearl Street Station.

Brush was born in Euclid Township, Ohio on March 17, 1849. Brush’s achievement was noted in a history of electricity in New York written by former NYISO Board Member and Cornell University professor Richard Schuler.

“Charles Brush may not be a household name; nevertheless, he is responsible for the first commercial electric power supply system in New York State, which became operational on a contract basis in 1881… Brush’s New York system consisted of twenty-two arc streetlights stretched along Broadway between 14th and 34th streets.”

– Richard E. Schuler, The Future of Electrical Energy: A Regional Perspective of an Industry in Transition.

To learn more about the modern power system, check out our 2018 Power Trends report.

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