The United States Electric Illuminating Company of Charleston started up South Carolina's first central station for incandescent lighting in October 1882 -- only one month after Thomas Edison opened his famous Pearl Street plant in New York City. In the following years, the company's parent firm was a major force in the growing electrical industry.
Edison's simple and unprecedented instrument allowed for the first time the permanent recording and reproduction of sound, especially the human voice. On December 6, 1877, Edison put tinfoil around the cylinder, turned the handle of the shaft and, shouting into one of the diaphragms, recorded a verse of Mary Had a Little Lamb "almost perfectly." From this machine evolved the phonographs and record industries of the world.
This dynamo, connected directly to a high-speed steam engine, was one of six that produced direct current at Thomas A. Edison's electric power station at 257 Pearl Street in New York City. The Pearl Street Station was the prototype for central station power generation. Edison set out in 1878 to provide an electrical distribution system to bring lighting into the home: His first filament lamp lit on October 21, 1879. With the help of Frances Upton and C.L. Clarke, Edison built his engine-driven dynamo for the 1881 Paris Electrical Exposition.