|Lady Mary and Carson the butler try out another new-fangled device.|
|Sir Charles Barry's drawing for one of Highclere's towers, 1842.|
Meanwhile, in Buffalo, NY, the elite of the Queen City were building their own Beaux Arts and gothic revival mansions, and supplying many of them with electricity from the start. The Darwin D. Martin House was no exception: the house was designed to be electrified, yet, surprisingly, not by virtue of the massive supply of power being generated 20 miles away at Niagara Falls, but rather by a private dynamo located in the carriage house basement. This was not uncommon, at a time when Niagara's hydro power was being used primarily for street-lighting and industrial applications. But it does seem ironic in retrospect that the Martin House, built a stone's throw from the electrical displays of the Pan-American Exposition (1901), should require its own source of power. The Barton House, pilot project for the Martin House complex, was equipped for gas lighting originally, but soon converted to electric (using the same fixtures).
|The Martins' impressive dynamo in the carriage house basement|
Use your electrical computing device to CLICK HERE for a fascinating history of electricity at the Biltmore estate.
And - an interesting blog post on Downton, electricity and the future of energy HERE.
Experts on the history of electricity in Buffalo are invited to weigh-in and provide further factoids, corrections and clarifications, without resorting to fisticuffs, please.