Louisville, KY

At one time, this city in Kentucky had more electric lights than New York City

Anita Durairaj

Electric light bulbs invented by Thomas EdisonPhoto by William J. Hammer; Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain Image

The Southern Exposition was held in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1883 to 1887.

The Southern Exposition was a series of world fairs that lasted for five years. At the time, the exhibition was one of the largest exhibitions in America.

The Southern Exhibition ran for 100 days each summer for five years. Its main purpose was to showcase the agriculture and the industry of the South.

Businessmen in Louisville especially wanted to ensure that their city would be recognized in the world trade market.

One highlight of the exhibition was the installation of the incandescent light bulb which had been invented by Thomas Alva Edison in 1879.

Edison owned a lighting company that was contacted by the exhibition to install lighting. They contracted to buy a total of 5000 incandescent lamps. The project was huge and it took a hundred men to do the wiring in one month.

The Southern Exposition was held in the neighborhood of St. James Court in Louisville on 23 acres of open land in a residential neighborhood. Edison himself turned on the switch to light the incandescent lamps at the exhibition.

When Edison turned on the lights, it was the largest display of electric lighting in Kentucky and it even had more electric lights than New York City.

Moreover, the lighting for the exhibition in Louisville was said to stimulate the growth of interior electric lighting in the country at the time.

Today, the Thomas Edison House still has a display dedicated to the lighting from the Southern Exposition.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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