1870-1879 Timeline of Allen County, Indiana

Fort Wayne city directories start in 1858 with business and city resident addresses. Public domain copies before 1923 are listed on the City Directories page and embeded within the Timeline pages.

1870 - 1871 - 1872 - 1873 - 1874 - 1875 - 1876 - 1877 - 1878 - 1879

Gilded age in Fort Wayne, 1870-1900 by Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County, 1955 on Archive.org.


1870, February 3 - the 15th Amendment is ratified, guaranteeing voting rights for all male citizens without regard to race.

1870, February 9 - the U.S. Weather Bureau was established. Joseph Henry Secretary of the Smithsonian was the father of weather service. From Februry 9, 2015 American History Museum Tweet. See more with photos at February 5, 2015 U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) on Facebook.

1870, February 10 - President Grant signed the U.S. Weather Bureau into law.

1870, March 30 - 15th Amendment is formally adopted, giving African American men the right to vote.

1870, June 25 - Calvin Thomas, the census enumerator, started recording the 9th U.S. Federal Census in Aboite Township.

1870, June 26 - the federal government declared Christmas to be a national holiday in the United States.

1870, September 13 - Formation of the Old Settlers Association printed meeting highlights and lists of names in the Fort Wayne Daily Gazette newspaper, page 4. Reprinted in the September 2013 Allen County Lines quarterly publication in the Membership section of the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana websitepages 18-19.

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There is no separate 1871 city directory, it is a combined 1870-1871 city directory.

1871 - Streetcars came to Fort Wayne in 1871 as a way to easily get around town after the Civil War. Streetcars ended May 16, 1939 as they transitioned to buses. Copied from May 16, 1939; Fort Wayne begins transition from streetcars to buses with several Allen County Public Libraryphotos by Adam Solarczyk posted May 16, 2022 by CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.

1871: One of the city's first women's organizations, the Allen County Women's Rights Association, is organized to support allowing women to vote. Noted suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony speaks twice in Fort Wayne by 1878. Copied from 1000 TO 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1871, March 3 - Congress passed the Indian Appropriation Act revoking the sovereignty of Independent Indian nations. 1871: The End of Indian Treaty-Making from Magazine of Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Issue: Summer/Fall 2014 / Vol. 15 No. 2. There are several different years with an Indian Appropriations Act discussed on Wikipedia.

1871, May 4 - the first professional baseball game is played in Fort Wayne by the Fort Wayne Kekiongas. Copied from 1000 TO 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper. Hometown Kekiongas defeated the Forest City club of Cleveland 2-0 in the first game of the National Association, a player-organized predecessor to the National League. Thirty-seven years later, Indianapolis native Albert Von Tilzer wrote the music for what would become baseball's iconic song – "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Von Tilzer was responsible for hit songs through the early 1950s. From February 17, 2016 Facebook post by Indiana Historical Society.

140th anniversary of first professional baseball game posted May 4, 2011 by WANE 15 News on YouTube
On May 4, 1871, the first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ross Kinsey talks with baseball historian Don Graham about where the game was played and the impact it still has on the community.

  1. See also Baseball on our Places page.
  2. Photo of 9 players courtesy of the Our Game Blog was posted May 4, 2018 by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. They stated: the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players began its inaugural season at Fort Wayne's Grand Duchess ballpark. The Fort Wayne Kekiongas beat Cleveland’s Forest City team in an upset with a score of 2-0. The Society for American Baseball Research noted that "there were no errors by Cleveland and only three by Fort Wayne, a marvel in those days of bare hands and rutted fields. Moreover, the low score was unprecedented among top-level clubs." Learn more about this game here: May 4, 1871: Association Ball: Kekionga vs. Forest City article written by John Thorn at the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
  3. See also Local baseball group wants monument on historical game site Researching the site has been tricky by Blake Sebring published November 28, 2016 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  4. Monument to mark site of 1871 pro baseball game by Blake Sebring published May 2, 2017 on The News-Sentinel newspaper.
  5. Monument at Fort Wayne park marks first-ever baseball game by WANE Staff Reports published May 3, 2017 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.
  6. See May 4, 2017 post by TinCaps on Facebook, and First Major League Baseball Game: May 4, 1871 by Patrick Mondout on Baseball Chronology. Bill Griggs, president of the local chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)found the site and played a role in getting it recognized with a monument.
  7. Featured in 20 questions with Bill Griggs by Jeff Wiehe in the May 2017 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.
  8. First game in major league history on Baseball Reference.
  9. THE LAST WORD: Souder article details history of professional baseball in Fort Wayne by Kerry Hubartt published April 22, 2019 in The News-Sentinel newspaper. Former 3rd District congressman Mark Souder and local baseball historian wrote an in-depth article about Fort Wayne’s professional baseball history in the semi-annual Old Fort News (Volume 82, No. 1), which is a publication of the Fort Wayne/Allen County Historical Society. It’s called Hugh McCulloch & the Origins of Professional Baseball..

1871, December 15

December 15, 2021 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook

On December 15, 1871, the first edition of Edward Eggleston’s The Hoosier School-Master was published. The classic novel began as a serial publication on September 30th of that year in the periodical Hearth and Home, a New York City weekly edited by Eggleston. Early-20th-century critics lauded The Hoosier School-Master for its depiction of rural American life written with a Hoosier sentimentality.

You can read the Hoosier Schoolmaster for free with Project Gutenberg: THE HOOSIER SCHOOLMASTER A Story of Backwoods Life in Indiana

See The Hoosier School-Master ebook on our School page.


1872, January 6 - The city's first horse-drawn streetcars go into service.

1872, November 5 - Susan B. Anthony votes in the presidential election and is later fined $100 at the famous 1872 trial where Miss. Anthony was found guilty of ‘voting while female.’ Read her letter at Susan B. Anthony: I’ve Gone and Done It by JD Thomas published December 16 , 2013 at Accessible Archives blog.

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1873 - Manual of practical housekeeping (1873) - [Kimball, Laura A.], [from old catalog] comp, The Household Treasure on Archive.org.

1873 the Catholic Cemetery was established by Bishop Joseph Dwenger.

1873 Young's Greenhouse opens for business. Now a 4th and 5th generation business.

1873, March 5

March 5, 2023 post by U.S. Government Publishing Office on Facebook:

On this date in 1873 GPO published the first issue of the Congressional Record for Congress! GPO employees continue to produce the publication for Congress today. We digitized every issue back to the first one from 1873: https://www.govinfo.gov/.../pdf/GPO-CRECB-1873-pt1-v1.pdf

1873, September 18 - when the banking firm of Jay Cooke and Company, a firm heavily invested in railroad construction, closed its doors, a major economic panic swept the nation. 89 of the country's 364 railroads crashed into bankruptcy, 18,000 businesses failed in two years. By 1876 unemployment reached 14% and the depression lasted until 1879. Read more about The Panic of 1873 on American Experience PBS.

October 21, 2023 post by the Smithsonian Magazine on Facebook:

On September 18, 1873, an investment bank owned by Jay Cooke, who financed the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway, went bankrupt, sparking a multiyear financial crisis.

How One Robber Baron’s Gamble on Railroads Brought Down His Bank and Plunged the U.S. Into the First Great Depression In 1873, greed, speculation and overinvestment in railroads sparked a financial crisis that sank the U.S. into more than five years of misery, Mickey Butts, September 18, 2023

1873, September 20 - Panic sweeps NY Stock Exchange in wake of railroad bond defaults and bank failures.

September 20, 2023 post by A Daily Dose of History on Facebook:

The U.S. railroad industry boomed in the aftermath of the Civil War. Thirty-five thousand new miles of track were laid between 1866 and 1873. Vast fortunes were being made and investors seemingly couldn’t get enough of the bonds the railroads were issuing to finance their expansion. Then things suddenly started going very badly.

Because of rapidly worsening financial troubles in Europe, investors there began selling off their American railroad bonds, driving the value of the bonds down. Jay Cooke and Company, one of the leading investment banks in America, found itself holding millions of dollars in railroad bonds that it couldn’t sell. Unable to meet its obligations and unable to secure loans to keep it afloat, on September 18, 1873, the company filed for bankruptcy.

The demise of Jay Cooke and Company triggered panicked bank runs and stock sales. The stock market plummeted, and a chain reaction of bank failures followed. On September 20, 1873 (150 years ago today), the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading for the first time in its history.

The effects of the “Panic of 1873” rippled across the U.S. economy. Within two years over 18,000 American businesses had failed, at least one hundred banks had closed, and a fifth of American railroads had declared bankruptcy. Unemployment soared to 14% nationwide and even higher in the Northeast. As the depression worsened, railroads cut employees’ wages, resulting in strikes and labor unrest. Strikers burned down railroad buildings, depots and bridges in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and brought railroad traffic to a halt across the country. Federal and state troops were deployed against the strikers and the fighting that followed claimed over a hundred lives.

Called at the time the Great Depression (a name that would eventually be taken over to describe the aftermath of the 1929 bust), the financial crisis known to history as the Panic of 1873, finally ended in 1879, as economic conditions stabilized, and the economy again began to grow.

John Kenneth Galbraith said that the interval between market panics is the time it takes for the public to forget the last one. Fourteen years after the end of the depression following the Panic of 1873, the Panic of 1893 would plunge American into a four-year economic depression.

The illustration depicts the New York Stock Exchange on September 20, 1873, closing its doors and refusing to allow members to enter. The market remained closed for ten days.

1873, December 5

1873, Dec. 5 - Fort Wayne, the summit city by Williams J. L. (Jesse Lynch), 1807-1886
reprint of a letter written by Jesse L. Williams to the Fort Wayne Gazette in on Archive.org.

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1874, March 26 - poet Robert Frost born this day.

1874, September 14 - Riegel's Pipe and Tobacco opened. From a September 14, 2022 post on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook


1875 the United States passes the first immigration law. FamilySearch Immigration and Naturalization Records and Research

1875 - Lawless Fort Wayne

Read the newspaper clipping 1875 The Chicago Times spoke of Fort Wayne as "the most lawless town in Indiana" on Newspapers.com. The article continued with four more lines in the next column here: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/44642765/1875_the_chicago_times_spoke_of_fort/. The ARCH video below at about the 30:42 mark says an 1871 Chicago Times newspaper article called Fort Wayne the same thing. But I have not find that article, yet.

1875: during an 1870s wave of crime, The Chicago Tribune called Fort Wayne the most lawless city in Indiana. Copied from 1000 TO 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper. See Fort Wayne Police Department: Policewoman's Uniform from 1940s on 200 @ 200 2016 Bicentennial items at The History Center.

ARCH Sin in the Summit City posted Jan 18, 2016 by Access Fort Wayne on YouTube.
Karen Richards discusses the colorful history of Fort Wayne at the Allen County Public Library. Filmed and edited by Dan Allen for Access Fort Wayne. See a summary called Sin in the Summit City Home posted by Heyde Mitchell on February 20, 2014 on the Living Fort Wayne blog. Based on a Presentation led by: Karen Richards, Allen County Prosecutor.

1875 September 8 - Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel has a short article hoping the city council will put the old fort property in good order by cleaning out the old well General Wayne ordered dug, as well as restoring a model of the fort, then landscaping and maintaing the property.

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1876 Fort Wayne, Indiana, city directory by R.L. Polk & Co. cn on Archive.org

Map of the City of Fort Wayne (with) Cedarville, Sheldon, Arcola, New Haven. Andreas, A. T. (Alfred Theodore), 1839-1900; Baskin, Forster and Company, 1876 at Dave Rumsey Map Collection

Map of Allen County Andreas, A. T. (Alfred Theodore), 1839-1900; Baskin, Forster and Company, 1876 at Dave Rumsey Map Collection

1876 - The city's first medical school opens, quickly followed by a rival. Six physicians and a student are arrested for robbing graves to obtain bodies to study. Copied from 1876 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in 1000 to 1900 in Fort Wayne History Stories About Time Periods in I Remember History online tour of Summit City history from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper. See Fort Wayne Medical College and 1879 Grave Robbers.

1876, January 1 - Protection Engine and Hose Company Fire Station fire from the Fire Police City County Federal Credit Union yearly calendar.

1876, February 13 - Flood of Fort Wayne, 13 February 1876, Calhoun and Superior Streets, photo by Griswold from tintype, taken from Keystone Block at corner of Calhoun and Columbia Streets, earliest known flood picture of Fort Wayne at Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Library. See our Rivers page. This photo was posted January 13, 2023 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

1876, March 7 - Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for the telephone.

Can you hear me now? On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the first apparatus to transmit...

Posted by US National Archives on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7, 2012 post by US National Archives on Facebook:

Can you hear me now? On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the first apparatus to transmit human speech via machine: the telephone. His invention would become one of the most profitable -- and most contested -- of all 19th-century patents. With the advent of smartphones, we've come a long way from mere voice transmission! What are some of your favorite features on your phone?

Today in 1876: Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for the telephone. Eight months later, this "box" telephone is...

Posted by National Museum of American History on Thursday, March 7, 2013

March 7, 2013 post by National Museum of American History on Facebook:

Today in 1876: Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for the telephone. Eight months later, this "box" telephone is used to transmit sound between Cambridge and Salem, MA.

29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell received a U.S. patent for the telephone on March 7, 1876. This newspaper article from...

Posted by Newspapers.com on Thursday, March 7, 2024

March 7, 2024 post by Newspapers.com on Facebook:

29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell received a U.S. patent for the telephone on March 7, 1876. This newspaper article from a few months later describes a test of the new technology.

According to the article, "Professor Bell, stationed at the Boston end of the wire, and Mr. Watson, in Cambridgeport, [...] engaged in a lengthy vocal conversation, the first ever carried on by means of the electric wire. At the outset the sounds were somewhat indistinct, but suddenly grew quite clear and intelligible. [...] This test was a complete success, establishing beyond doubt the practical importance of the new science of telephony."

Read the full article in the St. Albans Advertiser on our site: Alexander Graham Bell & the telephone (1876) The St. Albans Advertiser, Saint Albans, Vermont, Tuesday, Oct 24, 1876, Page 1

1876, March 10 - Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call—to his assistant Thomas Watson who was waiting in the next room. See Reason Gallery A in the American Treasures of The Library of Congress. Eight months later, this "box" telephone is used to transmit sound between Cambridge and Salem, MA. Read more about this telephone and the transmission of sound at Alexander Graham Bell from Today in History - March 10 at The Library of Congress.

March 10, 2021 post by the U.S. Census Bureau on Facebook:

Alexander Graham Bell made the world’s first phone call on this day in 1876. ☎️

Learn more about his invention of the telephone and work as a special agent of the U.S. Census Bureau using #CensusData and records: 

#CensusHistory #inventors

March 10, 2022 post by The Library of Congress on Facebook:

Today in History: Alexander Graham Bell successfully tests his telephone, 1876: "Mr. Watson, come here …" Today in History - March 10

January 26, 2023 post by The History Museum on Facebook:

A look back: On the invention of the telephone and telegraph in the mid-1800s, it became apparent that a widespread electrical grid would be necessary to utilize these new technologies. Though electricity was first transmitted over long distances by physicist Stephen Gray in 1729, the damp hemp cord he used was neither efficient nor adequate, and upgrades in long-distance transmission technology were required. At first, metal lines were strung between trees, but later freestanding wooden poles were used where trees weren’t convenient. Groups of men who erected these poles and wires became known as linemen. Many were itinerant workers, called “boomers,” who traveled from city to city when new jobs became available. In St. Joseph County, several electrical plants required their services, most notably the Indiana and Michigan Electric Company, which was formed in 1904.

As the lineman created the infrastructure for today’s quality of life, they were often not equipped with standardized tools or adequate training. Linemen faced hazards from falling or electrocution, making it one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. It is estimated that circa 1900 one out of three line workers died on the job. Inventor and electrical pioneer Thomas Edison remarked on its danger. When Edison was asked his opinion on how to best execute criminals using electricity, his reply was, “Hire them out as linemen to some of the New York Power Companies.” Eventually, line workers formed labor unions, which mandated safety precautions, though a lineman’s job remains one of the most hazardous in the country.

This photograph, donated to The History Museum by Jack Woodham, shows linemen working for the Indiana Michigan Power Company posing with their truck in the 1920s. Though the South Bend Electric Company was the first power plant in the city, I&M was the longest lasting. Its Beaux-Arts building at 401 E. Colfax Avenue was constructed in 1911 and is now the Commerce Center Building.  

#ALookBack #ThrowbackThursday #history

1876, June 4 - the express train called the Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco, California, via the First Transcontinental Railroad, only 83 hours and 39 minutes after having left New York City.

1876, June 25 - the Seventh U.S. Cavalry, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and 210 (265?) men were defeated and killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana by Crazy Horse and his Sioux warriors. Also known as Custer's Last Stand. Private George A. Bott and Corporal John Noonan (aka John McKinney) were from Fort Wayne. See Today in History: June 25 on Library of Congress American Memory Today In History blog

1876, July 12 - Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel newspaper article about General Custer massacre at the Little Big Horn.


1877, June 18 - James Montgomery Flagg, creator of the Uncle Sam illustration, was born in Pelham Manor, New York.  Dressed in his own Uncle Sam suit, he used himself as the model for this poster and his other Uncle Sam illustrations. Learn more about Frank Leslie's newspaper at Frank Leslie’s Weekly on Accessible Archives blog.

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1878 Fort Wayne, Indiana, city directory by R.L. Polk & Co. cn Topics Fort Wayne (Ind.) -- DirectoriesAllen County (Ind.) -- Directories on Archive.org

1878, October 15 - Thomas Edison formed the Edison General Electric Light Company. April 1892 GE merged with Thomson-Houston which bought the Fort Wayne Jenny Company in August 1888. From GE’s history in Fort Wayne published February 9, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

October 19,[31?] 1878 - Fort Wayne City Hospital opens. 1891 (officially 1900) renamed Hope Hospital. 1918 renamed Hope Methodist Hospital. 1922 renamed Methodist Hospital. In 1953 opened in new location as Parkview Memorial Hospital. 1990's removed Memorial from its name. March 2012 opens new Parkview Regional Medical Center at I-69 and Dupont Road. Methodist Hospital - Parkview Hospital covers early history from 1878 from Indiana Story Tellers on Archive.org Wayback Machine.

1878, October 28

We love this photo showing the head of the Statue of Liberty on display at Champ-de-Mars at the World Expo in Paris in 1878: https://f3.social/6y2f

Posted by Fold3 on Friday, April 19, 2024

Friday, April 19, 2024 post by Fold3 on Facebook:

We love this photo showing the head of the Statue of Liberty on display at Champ-de-Mars at the World Expo in Paris in 1878: Head of the Statue of Liberty on display at the Paris World's Fair in 1878

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1879: The city gets its first waterworks and telephone system. Copied from 1000 TO 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper. The first telephone book featured only one page with 54 original subscribers from the short video The History Center’s May exhibit focuses on common household items by WaneStaffReports with History Center Executive Director Todd Pelfrey published May 7, 2016 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15.

200@200: The First Phone Book and Oldest Telephone in Allen County posted May 7, 2016 by WANE 15 News on YouTube.

1879 - In 1879 five physicians founded the Fort Wayne Medical College in the old Hugh McCulloch mansion on Superior Street. Students were required to pay tuition, study hard and provide their own cadavers for dissection. The need for medical cadavers inspired the very lucrative profession of grave robbing and no cemetery within fifty miles of Fort Wayne was safe. See 1876 First Medical Schools.


October 25, 2016and October 22, 2017 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

In 1879, the Fort Wayne Sentinel reported A Tale of Terror that a farmer fought a “battle for life” with a giant snake-like monster.

Jacob Rishel was cutting through a grassy field after a day’s work in Jackson Township. He heard a strange, crackling noise behind him and noticed a rapidly approaching, powerful whirlwind cutting through the grass, coming straight towards him! Afraid, Rishel started sprinting through the field, though whatever it was caught up to him. Rishel discovered a huge reptile-like horned monster was chasing him. It got so close, Rishel could smell its breath. Finally, he found an abandoned reaper, struck the monster several times, and fainted straight away. Concerned friends found him hours later, passed out in the field. After he awoke, they measured the beast. Reportedly, it was 34 feet long and as thick as a man’s thigh, with 42 inch long tentacles. Rishel recovered after several days, though his hair turned snow-white overnight.

Discover other Hoosier monsters: A Roundup of Indiana's Top Monsters



October 9, 2022 post by the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives on Facebook:

October 9th is the beginning of #FirePreventionWeek.

design and carriages. All from Caswell Fire Department Supply Co., circa 1879, in our National Museum of American History Library: Historical Hoses: A Look Back at Firefighting


The “Telephonoscope” — a device imagined in a Punch cartoon from 1879, predicting the advent of video chat more than 100 years before Skype or Zoom. See more here: http://bit.ly/1O1Kyff

Posted by The Public Domain Review on Wednesday, February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024 post by The Public Domain Review on Facebook:

The “Telephonoscope” — a device imagined in a Punch cartoon from 1879, predicting the advent of video chat more than 100 years before Skype or Zoom. See more here: The Telephonoscope (1879)

Things you could buy for 5 cents in 1879! What would you buy off this list? (5 cents in 1879 is roughly equivalent to...

Posted by Newspapers.com on Thursday, February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024 post by Newspapers.com on Facebook:

Things you could buy for 5 cents in 1879! What would you buy off this list? (5 cents in 1879 is roughly equivalent to $1.54 today.)

See the full list of items in the Mount Carmel Register on our site: Five Cent Goods (1879) [ Mount Carmel Register Mount Carmel, Illinois, Thursday, May 8, 1879, Page 1 ]

1879, August - A sketch of early Fort Wayne - Robertson, Robert Stoddart, 1839-1936, originally published in the Fort Wayne Daily Gazette in August, 1879 on Archive.org.

1879, October 22 - Thomas Edison tested the first successful electric light bulb in his Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory. How Thomas Edison Tricked the Press Into Believing He’d Invented the Light Bulb A year before he developed a working bulb, the “Wizard of Menlo Park” created the illusion that his prototype burned for more than a few minutes at a time. Tara Isabella Burton, June 27, 2023, Smithsonian Magazine.

October 22, 2014 post by The History Center on Facebook:

If you're reading with the lights on, thank Edison. And thanks Writer's Almanac for today's history:

On this date in 1879, Thomas Edison tested the first successful electric light bulb. The inventor had set up a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, in 1876. He worked long hours there — 16 or 18 hours at a stretch, sometimes — and credited his success to the fact that he never had a clock in the lab. But it wasn't "all work and no play" for Tom Edison; in addition to a wide variety of chemicals and equipment, the lab was also home to a pipe organ, at which Edison would sit and play, rallying his fellow scientists with beer and music through the wee hours.

Edison didn't invent electric lights; they already existed, but they were too bright to be used inside the home, so people used gaslights instead. These weren't optimal, because they flickered, and their open flames could be hazardous. So Edison sat down to combine what he knew about electricity with what he knew about gas lights. He knew he would have to come up with a bulb of some kind, and fixtures, and a way to get the electricity from the outdoor power lines into people's homes, so he invented all of those things. Surprisingly, the most difficult part of all of this inventing was the tiny little filament inside the light bulb. Edison needed something that would glow when heated with electricity, but wouldn't burn up quickly. He tested more than 1,600 different materials, including fishing line, coconut fibers, and even beard hair. He had some success with a platinum wire, but platinum was too expensive to use on a large scale, so he tried a carbonized cotton fiber. The bulb produced light for 14 and a half hours, the longest time to date. Eventually, Edison perfected his filament by using bamboo fiber, which lasted for 1,200 hours, and that was the material he used for the next 10 years.

When asked how he persisted despite 10,000 failures, Edison reportedly answered; "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work." 

[Did you know Thomas Edison lived in Fort Wayne in 1864?]

1879, December 24 - Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel newspaper story about an out of control team of horses on a cold December day dashing down Calhoun Street approaching the crowded Main and Columbia Street area lined with wagons and people nearly avoided crashing, but did crash with no visible damage. From Great Memories and History of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

1879, December 31

December 31, 2017 post by Ohio History Connection on Facebook:

On this day in 1879, Ohio native Thomas Edison unveiled the incandescent light bulb in a public demonstration in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Although others had invented similar technology, including British inventor Joseph Swan, Edison’s proved to be the most enduring.

People traveled by carriage, on horseback and by train to see the demonstration New Year’s Eve night in 1879. He showcased the invention by illuminating his Menlo Park lab and adjacent buildings. This image titled “When the World Came to Menlo Park" illustrates the event.

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