The Info List - Edward H. Johnson

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Edward Hibberd Johnson (January 4, 1846 – September 9, 1917)[1] was an inventor and business associate of American inventor Thomas Alva Edison. He was involved in many of Edison's projects, and was a partner in an early organization which evolved into the General Electric Company. When Johnson was Vice President of the Edison Electric Light Company, a predecessor of Con Edison, he created the first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree
Christmas tree
at his home in New York City in 1882. Edward H. Johnson became the Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights. Ironically he died of an electrical accident.


1 Biographical information

1.1 Protégé of William Jackson Palmer 1.2 Hiring young Thomas A. Edison 1.3 Recruiting Frank J. Sprague

2 First electric Christmas tree
Christmas tree
lights 3 References 4 External links

Biographical information[edit] Protégé of William Jackson Palmer[edit] In 1867, William Jackson Palmer
William Jackson Palmer
and Edward Hibberd Johnson headed west from their hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. General Palmer was the construction manager for the Kansas Pacific Railroad, mapping routes through New Mexico and Arizona to the Pacific coast. The Kansas Pacific Railroad
Kansas Pacific Railroad
was an enterprise of the Philadelphia interests which controlled the Pennsylvania Railroad
Pennsylvania Railroad
(whose president John Edgar Thomson
John Edgar Thomson
had employed Palmer as his personal secretary before the War). Under General Palmer's direction the Kansas Pacific was extended from Kansas City, Missouri, reaching Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
in August 1870. Hiring young Thomas A. Edison[edit] In 1871 Edward H. Johnson, as the assistant to General William J. Palmer, was sent back East to manage the Automatic Telegraph Company. Johnson hired Thomas A. Edison
Thomas A. Edison
when Edison was 24. Of Edison, Johnson later wrote:

"He ate at this desk and slept in a chair. In six weeks he had gone through the books, written a volume of abstracts, and made two thousand experiments ... and produced a solution." — Edward H. Johnson

Johnson later was a prominent supporter of Edison, helping him establish his "invention factory" in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Johnson became one of Edison's trusted executives as his inventions and business developed in the 1870s and later. Recruiting Frank J. Sprague[edit] In 1883, Johnson is also credited with recruiting into Edison's organization naval officer Frank J. Sprague, whom he met at an international electrical exposition. Sprague became a well known inventor, and was responsible for major developments in electric railways and electric elevators which were instrumental in the growth of US cities in the later 19th and early 20th Centuries. First electric Christmas tree
Christmas tree
lights[edit] The first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree
Christmas tree
was the creation of Edward H. Johnson. While he was Vice-President of the Edison Electric Light Company, he had Christmas tree
Christmas tree
bulbs especially made for him. He displayed his Christmas tree—hand-wired with 80 red, white, and blue electric light bulbs the size of walnuts—on December 22, 1882, at his home in New York City. The story was reported in the Detroit Post and Tribune by a reporter named William Augustus Croffut. Croffut wrote "Last evening I walked over beyond Fifth Avenue and called at the residence of Edward H. Johnson, vice-president of Edison’s electric company." Although Johnson's address at that time is not known, he lived in one of the first areas of New York City
New York City
wired for electric service. Edward H. Johnson became known as the Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights. From that point on, electrically illuminated Christmas trees, indoors and outdoors, grew with mounting enthusiasm in the United States and elsewhere. In 1895, U.S. President Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
sponsored the first electrically lit Christmas tree
Christmas tree
in the White House. It had more than a hundred multicolored lights. The first commercially produced Christmas tree
Christmas tree
lamps were manufactured in strings of nine sockets by the Edison General Electric Company
General Electric Company
of Harrison, New Jersey and advertised in the December 1901 issue of the Ladies' Home Journal. Each socket took a miniature two-candela carbon-filament lamp. References[edit]

^ January 4 - Today in Science History

External links[edit]

A Brief History of Electric Christmas Lighting in America The story of Christmas Tree Lights [1] [2] Christmas Lights and Lighting History Johnson's Obituary in Elec