(Private Collection)

"Back in the days when flickering candles and smoky lamps were the only means of lighting, men were striving to make themselves independent of the sun."

Better Homes & Gardens, 1927​​

Detail from drawing of custom-made foyer chandelier, 1911 (Trail End Collection)

Independent of the Sun

Light, Energy & the American Home, 1913-1933

 State Historic Site

Trail End


HOMEOWNERS TODAY TAKE light, power and heat for granted, regardless of the time of day or month of the year. Prior to the advent of electricity and gas, however, humankind's activities were largely constrained by the rising and setting of the sun, the time of which changed depending upon the season. It became science's challenge to find a way to extend the light of day into the dark of night.

Through careful study of period magazines, books and newspapers, and drawing upon the expertise of more modern researchers, Independent of the Sun seeks to show how the coming of electricity changed the American home in ways unimaginable to those who first fiddled with its powers. Illustrations are from the variety of period magazines donated to Trail End over the years.

A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
​March 2007 - December 2007