Once the buzz and jubilance of the New Year celebrations are over, January is a month known for darkness, calm, and perhaps a touch of dreariness. Here in Maryland, these last weeks have been the coldest we’ve had for quite some time.
Though it is certainly dark and cold, January has an important date of celebration for the town of Roselle, New Jersey. On January 19, 1883, during this gloomy time of year, many of Roselle’s streets, homes, businesses, and the railway station shone with brilliant electric light by incandescent lightbulb for the first time. This was not just a first for Roselle, but for any town, anywhere. Thomas Edison chose Roselle as the location for his experiment in which he set out to prove that a town could be lit by electricity from a single generator, and it was a success. It must have been an awe-inspiring sight for the townspeople. I imagine that many were excited, though I also wonder if there was trepidation in the town that day for this new technology making such a dramatic appearance in their daily lives. Perhaps some were like Maggie Smith’s character the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey, reacting to an electric candelabra - “Such a glare!”