On New Year's Eve, the Menlo Park facility was swarmed by the press, on- lookers, and Edison's financiers, all eager to see the new invention. Edison enthralled the visitors by lighting forty light bulbs all at once, then switching them on and off. The real work, however, consisted in creating a system that was inexpensive and practical: true innovation lay in lighting on a much larger scale, which required generator systems and safety fuse technology. To develop this system, Edison depended in part upon existing gas lighting systems. He copied the distribution system of gas lighting, which was dependent upon a central power source. During the early 1880s, he set about the complicated research work of developing a system that would light many lamps all at once, without causing electrical fires or damage. This required painstaking work on everything from wire insulators to
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