The Introduction of Electrical Power

Today, most people take electricity for granted. Asked where it comes from, most would respond, "out of the wall." Yet before the 1880s, no one had access to electrical power, and until the 1930s very few Wisconsin farms had electricity. Constructing power lines and generating the energy that flowed over them were costly investments that few farmers could afford. Power companies were reluctant to subsidize rural electrification because it was more profitable to provide service to cities. The Depression only emphasized the large disparity between urban and rural life in Wisconsin. Electric power not only helped with farm work, but... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Electricity is sold for the first time anywhere (Appleton, 1882)Electricity is sold for the first time anywhere (Appleton, 1882)
Link to article: The story of Wisconsin's first electric light.The story of Wisconsin's first electric light.
Link to artifacts: An electric mixer from the 1920sAn electric mixer from the 1920s
Link to book: Rural electrification is given a boost in 1937.Rural electrification is given a boost in 1937.
Link to book: Wisconsin waterways spell the future of electric power, 1918Wisconsin waterways spell the future of electric power, 1918
Link to book: The virtues of electric appliances described in verse and pictures, 1916The virtues of electric appliances described in verse and pictures, 1916
Link to book: Catalogs of electrical equipment, 1920-1925Catalogs of electrical equipment, 1920-1925
Link to book: Electric stoves and heaters made by a Milwaukee firm, 1929.Electric stoves and heaters made by a Milwaukee firm, 1929.
Link to images: Images of Wisconsin's first electrical generating plant and its successorsImages of Wisconsin's first electrical generating plant and its successors
Link to images: Early fixtures in the first Wisconsin home to use electricity.Early fixtures in the first Wisconsin home to use electricity.
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