Guide to the Brooklyn Edison Company, Edison Wonder House Records
NMAH.AC.1237

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
Phone: 202-633-3270
Email: archivescenter@si.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Collection donated by Gretchen T. Hall in 2011.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, July, 2011.

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Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Creator
Brooklyn Edison Company.
Creator - (donor).
Hall, Gretchen T.
Title
Brooklyn Edison Company, Edison Wonder House Records
ID
NMAH.AC.1237
Date
1936
Extent
0.15 cu. ft. (1 box)
Language
English
Abstract
The collection consists of newspaper clippings, a guidebook titled Edison Wonder House, and photographs documenting the Edison Wonder House, a demonstration home created by the Brooklyn Edison Company in 1936 to showcase the wonders of electricity.

Preferred Citation note

Brooklyn Edison Company Collection, 1936-1937, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXX

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Biographical/Historical note

The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Brooklyn was founded in 1887 to provide electricity to the homes and businesses of Brooklyn. it merged in 1919 with Kings County Electric Light and Power Company to form Brooklyn Edison. Brooklyn Edison merged with Consolidated Edison and other companies between 1936 and 1960.

In the early 1930s, the Brooklyn Edison Company created a 10 room house called the Edison Wonder House in the lobby of its showroom at Pearl Street in Brooklyn, New York. The house demonstrated the possibilities of electricity in the home. The demonstration home was not intended to be copied, but to provide future homeowners with ideas. Some special features of the house included lighting that was a sight saver, unusual clocks, a built-in aquarium, and a magic door that opened through the operation of an electrical eye.

The architect of the Wonder House was Albert Hart Hopkins of Buffalo, New York. Hopkins practiced architecture with Edward B. Green and Sons in Buffalo.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of newspaper clippings, a guidebook titled Edison Wonder House, and photographs documenting the Edison Wonder House, a demonstration home created by the Brooklyn Edison Company in 1936 to showcase the wonders of electricity.

There are ten 8" x 10" black-and-white photographs that depict the interior of the Wonder House. All of the photographs were taken by the Brooklyn Edison Company, Inc., with the exception of one which was taken by the General Electric Company. There is one 11" x 17" photograph that depicts the hostesses/guides/ who conducted tours explaining the features of the home. The photograph is annotated with the names of all sixteen women.

The guide titled The Edison Wonder House, details by home section (entrance, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and so on) the comforts of electricity. Included is a supplemental insert listing the cooperating firms that provided the building materials and accessories. The stick figure Reddy Kilowatt features prominently in the guide. Reddy Kilowatt was a cartoon figure trademark created in 1926 by Ashton B. Collins, Sr. More than 150 investor-owned electric utilities in the United States and at least twelve foreign countries licensed the use of the Reddy Kilowatt trademark.

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Arrangement note

The collection is arranged topically.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Materials in the Archives Center

Reddy Kilowatt Records (AC0913)

Louisan E. Mamer Rural Electrification Administration Papers (AC0862)

Materials in the National Museum of American History, Division of Work and Industry

Brooklyn Edison Company Collection, 1926-1935

Collection contains annual reports of the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Brooklyn Edison Company, photographs, drawings, and graphs; and a 1926 pamphlet on the Hell Gate and Sherman Creek Generating Stations of the United Electric Light and Power Company.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Articles--20th century
  • Guidebooks--1930-1940
  • Photographs--20th century

Subject(s)

  • Electric apparatus and appliances
  • Electric lighting
  • Electricity

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Collection Inventory

Newspaper clippings, 1936 and undated 


  Box Folder
Text   1 1

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Guide to the Edison Wonder House, circa 1936 


  Box Folder
Text   1 2

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Edison Wonder House photographs (interior views), circa 1936 


  Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 3

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Edison Wonder House photograph (hostesses), circa 1936 


  Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 4

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