Trivia Tuesday: Who was president when electricity (lights) were installed in the White House?

benjamin-harrison-generalElectricity wiring was setup throughout the Whitehouse in 1891 in order to light up the place with electric powered lights. The use of electric lighting at the time was not even a decade old and so few people trusted it.

The trust was so suspect that President Harrison and his wife would not even operate the light switch for fear of being electrocuted. The Whitehouse staff were always the ones to control the light switches because the President did not want to have anything to do with it.

The State War and Navy building were to be wired next door and so the decision was made to go ahead and have the Whitehouse wired as well. The Edison company installed a generator for these buildings that was installed in the State, War, and Navy basement with the wires simply layed out exposed across the outdoor lawn and then sent into the Whitehouse underneath the conservatory.

The new method of lighting was first thought to just be a supplement to gas lighting but the superior lighting quickly became the main way the Whitehouse received light. The wires were buried inside the plaster walls and round switches that turned were used to turn the current on and off.

Fortunately the President was never electrocuted and lighting via electricity in the Whitehouse continued from 1891 clear until today. President Benjamin Harrison was our 23rd President of the United States of America and is the answer to today’s trivia question.

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