Part III:
Cycling Electricity to Buffalo

Section B
Labor-Saving Devices?

Section C
A Proliferation

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Part III: Cycling Electricity to Buffalo (Section A)

Electricity Consumption and Costs cont'd

As households joined the electrical industry's consumer market, fear and ignorance of the new technology established a dependence upon servicemen. Some local electric companies supplied alternating current, others direct, well into the 1930s. Equipment came designed for use with either or both. Voltage varied in different localities and for different appliances. Beyond fixing a cord or changing a fuse, repairs required a call to the electrician.

Every one who builds a home desires to incorporate in its construction or furnishings such features as will insure maximum comfort and convenience. Such ambitions are easily realized in these days by the aid of electricity.

Too many home builders, however, either delay the wiring of their houses until after they are built, because they are not quite convinced that maximum comfort can be attained by the use of electrical devices; or at best endorse a haphazard wiring system that is installed with no visions for the future .

From Electric Heating and Cooking, 1912

Electric tools gave rise to the home handyman who could make
minor repairs and alterations around the house.

Ready at the Turn of a Switch
Electric Heating & Cooking
Advertising piece
July 1912

Flipping a switch, pulling a chain, or pushing a button brought long hours of steady, clean, inexpensive light to all areas in the home environment. A welcome relief from the odor and soot from coal gas lighting. Electrical light interrupted normal, biological rhythms of life and altered schedules for work and leisure.


Click on the red stars above to see the objects in detail


Kerosene Lamp converted to electric. (no larger view)
Lamp 1876 or later; modifications made early 20th century. BECHS


Electric Ceiling Fixture
Nerst Lamp Co. Pittsburgh, PA
c. 1902 (no larger view)


General Electric Co.Toaster (no larger view)
1908 or later. BECHS


Main Street Buffalo, NY 1930 (no larger view)

End of Section A

Continue to Part II Section B