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The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo

On this day 125 years ago: 17 July 1891

By July 17, 2016No Comments


A press report from County Carlow, Ireland, points to the growing use of electricity as a source of power:

One of George Meredith’s* sons is an electric engineer, and his latest bit of work is interesting for more reasons than one.  This is nothing less than the electric lighting of Carlow, the big village of 6,000 inhabitants which has just dug its impress deep in latter-day political history.  It is a good big jump from oil to electricity, from the middle ages to fin de siècle civilisation.  I understand that young Mr. Meredith’s firm has many more similar ideas for the conversion of waste water power in Ireland to the purposes of electric lighting.

[George Meredith, 1828-1909, was a renowned English novelist and poet of the Victorian era.  His 1881 poem, The Lark Ascending, inspired Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ composition of the same title]

A dispatch from the United States refers to an entirely different application for electricity:

The official report on the recent execution by electricity in Sing Sing prison shows that the method then adopted was superior to any plan yet designed. [The Times, London]

As an inventor and engineer, Charles Deville Wells followed these developments with interest.  Among his patents were an improved arc lamp; electric baths; an incandescent lamp; globes for electric arc lamps; electric locks, bolts etc.; electric apparatus for clocks; and galvanic batteries.

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