Past Predictions about the Future of Electricity

On March 29, 1879, a widely circulated newspaper called the American Register published a scathing editorial stating that “it is doubtful if electricity will ever be [widely] used” because it was too expensive to generate.

Several months later, the Select Committee on Lighting and Electricity in the British House of Commons held hearings on electricity, with experts stating that there was not “the slightest chance” that the world would run on electric power generation. In 1879, electricity was still considered an expensive fantasy.

Thomas Edison contradicted those statements a few months later, on New Years Eve. Edison publicly unveiled his incandescent light bulb in Menlo Park. At the time he allegedly stated “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”

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