Very interesting article from Megan Garber over at the magazine’s website on a subject I had never heard of before—how cities were lit in the last few decades of the 1800s, not with streetlights but with gigantic, artificial “moons,” hoisted high up on towers. The experiment didn’t really last into the 20th century, but must’ve been a very strange and beautiful experience, to say the least.
And so, for a brief and literally shining moment early in the days of human-harnessed electricity, the future of municipal lighting was glowing orbs suspended high above cities — towers, resembling oil derricks, capped with 4 to 6 arc lamps with a candlepower of 2,000 to 6,000 each. These manmade moons made the ultimate promise to the people below them: that they would never again be in the dark…The light itself…was the true attraction. It was, as [inventor Charles Francis] Brush had guaranteed, “picturesque and romantic,” one observer put it. read more