The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America
By Ernest Freeberg
Penguin Press, 2013. 354 pgs. Nonfiction
Maybe the information age began with the invention of the electric light bulb in 1879. Edison’s brainchild changed everything: humans' hours of work, play and sleep; their relationship to nature; the way cities work. People were surprised, delighted, “shocked,” and also understandably afraid of electricity and even artificial light.
This fascinating social history helps the reader imagine the wonder of seeing a city street lit by electricity for the very first time, surveys the rapidly evolving technology of electricity as a utility, and describes the technical and economic impact of this invention that triggered an endless wave of innovation.
Interested readers might also want to spend time with Brilliant: the Evolution of Artificial Light, by Jan Brox, which describes the history of man made light sources from prehistory to the modern day.