Victorian lighting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came in four varieties: candles, oil lamps, gas, and electricity. Electricity was first used to light houses in 1882, but it wasn't until 10 years later that the first electric lights were installed in homes. By 1890, almost all large cities had electricity, but it was expensive and not everywhere available. In 1900, only 5% of American households were served by an electrical grid; today that number is close to 100%.
The modern electric light has its origins in the electric arc lamp, which was invented in 1879 by Thomas Edison. The idea for the incandescent lamp came from George Westinghouse of Pittsburgh, who filed a patent application in 1882. Although Edison got there first, he didn't begin mass-producing his bulbs until 1892. In 1893, he introduced the first practical electric light bulb. It took another decade before electricity became widely available outside of cities. In 1919, nearly 90% of U.S. homes had access to electricity.
Electricity is the flow of electrons through a conductor such as a copper wire. Electric circuits inside equipment use these flows to operate components such as motors, heaters, and lights.
Electricity, along with candles and oil lights, was widely employed in cities and major towns. Electricity did not become a frequently utilized source of illumination until after World War I. There was no one design that gave the Victorian era its distinct identity. Instead, there were many different types of houses built during this time. The common features included large rooms, high ceilings, and extensive use of wood for both interior and exterior decoration.
The homes of the rich and famous often have great historical value even if they are not particularly rare. Many a city homeowner has had his house turned into a museum or public park. In addition, some buildings are designated national landmarks. In fact, almost all of London is listed as a protected building. This is because the Victorians were very concerned about the quality of construction of their homes. They wanted everything to be elegant and beautiful so they made sure that any building over three stories high was approved by a professional architect before it was ever constructed.
Many old photographs are evidence that electricity was commonly used by servants to light up ballrooms at night with phonographs playing music and guests having an enjoyable time without worrying about heavy chores or ill health. However, electricity was also used for more practical purposes such as heating and cooking. Indeed, most households didn't have heaters until well into the 20th century. This is because coal and then gas were readily available and affordable sources of energy.
Prior to the invention of electricity, the majority of artificial illumination was provided by candles and whale oil lamps. Kerosene lights became increasingly common later on. All of the liquid fuel lamps had a burning wick that provided more light than a single candle. The light from stoves and firepits also helped. By the 19th century, gas lamps were being used in cities for street lighting.
Electricity is generated by any number of different methods, but it must be able to turn a motor at some point in order to be useful for powering machinery and devices that we depend upon every day. This has not changed since electricity first became available in 1872. It requires an electric circuit to connect a generator with a load such as a light bulb or heater.
The word "electric" comes from the Greek elektron, which means amber. Amps are measured in volt-amps. A voltage is how much energy is pushing against an area of material; amps are how much current is flowing through that area. So electricity is the flow of amber-colored particles through a conductor. However, most amperes of current flow without any color being transmitted, so they count as zero volts.