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First Light Display

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Choreographed is open to interpretation. So long as someone plugged it in while they sang a carol, it's choreographed.

I'm still interested in hearing how this (or whatever the answer is) could possibly be documented as the first.

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OK here is the answer:

Date: 1893 (June – September)

Location: “Chicago World’s Fair” or AKA “The Columbian World Exhibition” or “The White City”.

Person: Thomas A. Edison.

I am giving Toymaker a 50% correct answer, he got the Date Right but was not sure it was Edison or not, and was waiting to see if he would answer the whole question.

How did I find out about this, well was watching a 2 hour documentary on the local PBS television station on the 1893 World’s Fair and in the second hour they showed what exhibits where in each building. The information can be found here and is the only place that really mentioned Edisons light show. The information can be found in Part 2 disc:


Some Videos of the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair:





Story goes like this:

Competitions was great between many companies to win the contract to supply electricity for the World’s Fair. Many companies had different methods of generating power, as no standards existed in 1893. Westinghouse won the contract, which upset Edison as he thought that DC power should be used. Edison thought that since he was the inventor of the incandesent light bulb and had many patents his company should have won the contract. Edison decided he had to do something better for his exhibit.

What Edison built in the Electricity Building was a Light Tower approximately 89 foot high with over 18,000 lights and glass prisms and choreographed it to music. Not too much information or pictures exist showing this and have not found much information how he did this. Maybe some of the Chicago area or DC people (Smithsonian) can research this more.

Here is a picture of what is looked like.



Edison’s first movie projector was the notable item in this World’s Fair and not what you can do with lights.

Here is some other links with good information.




Edited by Dennis Cherry
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