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Old 11-24-2003, 07:47 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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How widely available was electricity in 1901?

One of my favorite movies is The Shootist starring John Wayne as a old gunfighter who has come to Carson City to die. The year is 1901, with ample references to such things as Queen Victoria's death, and a local citizen who owns "one of those horseless carriages" (as said by Ron Howard's character Gillum). Anyway, in this movie, they have electricity in 1901.

Which brings me to my question, and is why this is not in CS. Did small, relatively out-of-the-way places like Carson City have electricity in those days? Did Carson city have it IRL, and if so, was it exceptional in that regard?
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Old 11-24-2003, 08:26 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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A very badly-scanned and OCR'd 1911 encyclopedia claims that there was an electric rail line which "extends to Grass Valley" from Nevada City. However, I think your answer lies here:

http://www.ibew1245.com/historySPintro.html

Quote:
In the late 1880s electric utilities were established in both Carson City and Virginia City and construction began on an electric distribution system that would benefit not only the mines but also residents. Shortly thereafter, in 1891, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was organized in St. Louis, Mo. to represent the interests of workers in this promising--and dangerous--new industry.
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Old 11-24-2003, 08:43 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Thanks, Una. I was looking at you, after all!
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Old 11-24-2003, 05:07 PM
Bob55 Bob55 is offline
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My great grandfather wired a lot of Northern Michigan in the 1890s. So yes it would have been available in 1901.
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Old 11-24-2003, 06:51 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Venturing into CS, I know, but:

I love the way that Gillum wears a very urban looking cloth cap instead of a "western style" big hat. Fleshing out the story in my own mind, the way I like to do, I imagine that he recently made a trip to NYC and got the cap there, making for a very interesting intrusion of urban style into a small Western town.
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Old 11-24-2003, 07:41 PM
KenGr KenGr is offline
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The spread of electric power in the US is one of the great stories of progress. Edison invented his light bulb in 1879 and built the first generating station (in New York City) in 1882. How, then, could a town in Nevada have electricity starting in the late 1880's?

The answer was that the early electrical system was entirely decentralized. Any ambitious businessman with enough capital to buy a generator and some wire could own an electrical utility. (There were licensing issues with Edison, but this didn't slow anyone down.) The generating stations were usually called "light plants" since that was the most commonly recognized use for electricity.

Expansion was surprisingly rapid in the West where ready cash came from mining and ranching and risk taking businessmen abounded. By about 1920 most cities and towns in the US had electricity but rural electrification did not seriously begin until the 1930's and did not complete until the late 1950's.
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