When Night Turned Into Day

A Piece of Thomas Edison’s Original Electrical Wire Has Been Found, And It’s Up For Sale for the First Time

Turning night into day: An artifact from one of the greatest moments in the history of electrical light: From the first underground cable used to light the first home – Edison’s own – in the entire world. From this invention, the world was illuminated; Valued at $120,000

PHILADELPHIA, PA – November 20, 2017 – The Raab Collection, the nation’s leading dealer in important historical documents, announced today that it is unveiling and offering for sale a long-lost piece of the first underground wire to light a home, part of Edison’s very first illumination. It was the prelude that which led to bringing light to New York City and then the nation. This artifact is valued at $120,000.

One of Edison’s first employees describes the great event at Menlo Park, Edison’s laboratory complex, where he tested a system to light a home. “In 1880, Mr. Edison laid out a system of underground distribution… As no electric circuits had ever before been placed underground, there was absolutely no experience to guide in the proper laying and insulation of the conductors…”

Once the wires were insulated and laid, Edison set to test the first ever underground power system. He continues, “It was on Election Day 1880 that Mr. Howell informed Edison that this line was completed, the lamps in place and everything ready for starting up. His answer was characteristic, ‘If Garfield is elected, light up that circuit. If not do not light it….’ When the result seemed certain, Mr. Edison gave orders to light up the circuit so the row of bamboo filaments started glowing on the night of Garfield’s election, in November 1880…”

The artifact was dug up by F.A. Wardlaw, Edison’s long-time aide who was present that night in 1880, and was later Secretary of the Edison Pioneers and curator of the historical collection of the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies. Wardlaw has inscribed a note in sending it to Paul Kruesi, son of Edison’s chief machinist, who grew up with Edison at Menlo Park.

About The Raab Collection: The Raab Collection has handled many of the most important historical documents to reach the market and worked with the families of famous Americans in the sale and preservation of their family treasures, among them Neil Armstrong, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, William Henry Harrison, and Ronald Reagan. Nathan Raab, a member of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, is also a contributor to Forbes.com. To learn more visit www.raabcollection.com or follow @raabcollection on Twitter.

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