Brush Electric Light & Power Company 1882 - RARE Issued Certificate - Early G.E. Company

Brush Electric Light & Power Company 1882 - RARE Issued Certificate - Early G.E. Company

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Brush Electric Light & Power Company 1882 - RARE Issued Certificate - Early G.E. Company
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Beautifully engraved certificate from the Brush Electric Light & Power Company issued in 1882. This historic document has an ornate border around it with a vignette of the Cleveland Manufacturing facility. The company was incorporated in the Montana Territory. This item is hand signed by the Company’s President and Secretary and is over 111 years old. This is only the second time we have seen an issued Brush Electric Light & Power Company certificate. This is certificate number 3. Minor foxing and small ink mark on verso, otherwise EF+.
Certificate Vignette Wabash was the first city to be lit solely by electricity and to own its own municipal power plant (that small dynamo driven by a threshing machine engine). The installation in Cleveland the year before in 1879 had been a demonstration, but Cleveland would soon begin lighting its streets with arc lamps as well. In 1876 Charles F. Brush invented a new type of simple, reliable, self-regulating arc lamp, as well as a new dynamo designed to power it. Earlier attempts at self regulation had often depended on complex clockwork mechanisms that, among other things, could not automatically re-strike an arc if there were an interruption in power. The simpler Brush design used a solenoid combined with a clutch mechanism to adjust the carbons over their entire length. Combined with improvements like an automatic shunt coil to remove a failed lamp from the main circuit, double carbons which could burn all night, and plated carbons for improved conductivity, this lamp/dynamo system made central station lighting a possibility for the first time. In the late 1870's small Brush arc lamp installations were being purchased by individuals, department stores, theaters, and factories. 1880 saw the first larger scale commercial use of arc lamps for street lighting as Brush plants, and eventually those of competitors like Thomson-Houston, were established in a number of large cities throughout the US. The letterhead at the top of this page is from a bill from a local Brush utility to the City of New York for street lighting. In 1880 Brush successfully demonstrated arc lighting along Broadway, and soon thereafter built New York's first central station. Similar systems were installed all over the world. In 1889 the Brush Electric Company was purchased by the Thomson-Houston company, which then merged with the Edison Electric Company in 1892 to form the General Electric Company. GE and others continued manufacturing arc lamps for decades despite the predominance of incandescents. Arc lamps were simply much brighter, and better suited to certain applications. Charles Francis Brush was an American pioneer in the commercial development of electricity. His inventive genius ranked with an elite group of electric pioneers including Thomas A. Edison. Brush designed and developed an electric arc lighting system that was adopted throughout the United States and abroad during the 1880's. The arc light preceded Edison's incandescent light bulb in commercial use and was suited to applications where a bright light was needed, such as street lights and lighting in commercial and public buildings. A key element in Brush's arc lighting system was his dynamo (electric generator). The dynamo was the workhorse of the Central (power) Station, a concept developed independently by Brush and Edison, which eventually grew into the electric power generating industry. Brush was born on his parents' farm March 17, 1849. His early years were spent on the Walnut Hills Farm, about 10 miles east of Cleveland. He was not a typical farm boy and developed an interest in science and electricity at an early age. "He spent as much time in a small workshop in the house as he did at the chores of the farm. As a boy, he was more excited about Humphrey Davy's experiments with the arc light than he was about the success of the farm at Walnut Hill."1 At the age of 12, Brush built his first static electric machine. Utilizing materials at hand on the farm, Brush experimented with electricity and constructed a number of electrical devices. Brush's parents realized that Charles would benefit greatly from a good education and they made the financial sacrifice to send him to Cleveland's Central High School. It was there that Brush fulfilled his boyhood dream of constructing an arc light. He graduated from Central High in 1867 with honors. Isaac Brush did not have the financial means to support a college education for his son. An uncle of Charles' from his mother's side of the family provided a loan which enabled him to continue his education and he enrolled at the University of Michigan in the fall of 1867. At the time, the University of Michigan did not have a course of study in electricity and Brush chose mining engineering as his major, a field he felt would give him practical training for a career. It also developed his knowledge in science, which would prove valuable for his experimentation with electricity which would soon follow. Brush graduated from the University of Michigan in June, 1869 at the age of twenty. He had worked hard to finish his course of study in a short time, working through the summer months to accelerate his rate of progress. Repayment of the debt to his uncle was part of the motivation for his fast track approach, reasoning that an early graduation would mean earlier employment and resolution of the debt. After graduation Brush returned to Cleveland where he established himself as an analytical and consulting chemist. This endeavor did not prove to be very profitable and in 1873 he joined forces with a boyhood friend, Charles Bingham, to market Lake Superior pig iron and iron ore. It was during this time that he became reacquainted with another boyhood friend, George Stockly, vice president and general manager of the Telegraph Supply Company of Cleveland. Brush related some of his early


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