a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1938 - original stopper lamp which George Westinghouse used to light the World’s Fair of 1893

ORIGINAL STOPPER LAMP

CD 1964041 E&MP26.030

Electric Light

April 25, 1938

The original stopper lamp which George Westinghouse used to light the World’s Fair of 1893 and which is now preserved in the incandescent lamp museum of the Westinghouse Lamp Company, Bloomfield, N.J.

When awarded the contract of electric lighting the World’s Fair of 1893, George Westinghouse had to exercise remarkable ingenuity lest some threatened potent litigation jeopardize the whole lighting project. He therefore designed his own lamp which consisted of a filament and base inserted as one into a glass bulb after the fashion of a stopper in a bottle - the origin of the name stopper.

So little time did Westinghouse have in which to design and manufacture a lamp that his final stopper design was born almost overnight. Because so many lamps of this emergency design were in service a group of electricians trod the World’s Fair grounds twenty-four hours a day, and with baskets on their arms paused to replenish the stopper lamps with new filaments as the occasion demanded.

Though a crude light source then, these early illuminates have since grown into a family of some 3,000 incandescent lamps, serving as many uses in every walk of life not to mention unusual demands such as deep-sea dives for treasure and airplane trips to the sky for scientific information. 


Original Caption by Science Service
©Westinghouse



National Museum of American History

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