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Advertisement from L.R. Paige for Electric signs
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Greenfield Electric Light and Power Company began generating electricity for the town of Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1886. Only four years earlier, Thomas Edison began mass producing light bulbs. In 1882, Edison displayed the first electric advertising sign at the London International Electric Exposition. It spelled out "EDISON." Illuminated outdoor advertising had existed in the United States since 1840, when P.T. Barnum used a gas-lit sign for his museum in New York City. The first electric sign company, the Federal Electric Company, an offshoot of Commonwealth Edison Co., was founded in 1900. By 1906, there were some 75,000 electric signs in the United States. Mass-produced signs, with on and off flashing bulbs, were introduced in 1909. When L.R. Paige advertised his electric signs to Greenfield in 1910, he was part of a growing national trend.
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