100 Years of Innovation: Advancements in the Electrical Industry

As one of the oldest, most established electrical contractors in the state of Nebraska, Miller Electric has not only witnessed the city of Omaha evolve over the last century, but the electrical industry as well.

Needless to say, the world was a different place back in 1912. Exactly how far has the electrical world come? Below we outline some key industry trends and achievements over the course of the last century.

  • In 1912, Americans were introduced to the modern electric traffic light.  Policeman Lester Wire invented and installed the first red-green traffic signals in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Roadways in Omaha grew particularly brighter that year, when Florence Boulevard, originally called the “The Prettiest Mile in Omaha Boulevard,” becomes the first roadway to be fully lit with electric lamps.
  • By 1930, the United States was in the midst of electrification, and 80% of electricity was being produced through central supply. And by 1941, 80% of all American residences were wired for electricity.
  • PVC insulation and jackets were introduced in 1950, particularly for residential wiring. Today, it’s used for everything from pipes and window profiles to flooring and shoe manufacturing. No wonder PVC production is expected to exceed 40 million tons by 2016.
  • Although isolated uses of direct current (DC) for electric power distribution still remain, a large number of historic buildings were forced to switch to alternating current (AC) in 2007, when New York City’s electric utility company, Consolidated Edison, ended its 125 years of DC service.

Thanks to the evolution and growth of electricity over the last 100 years, the electrical contracting business is now reported to be worth more than $130 billion. Today, there are more than 70,000 electrical contracting firms like Miller Electric, and more than 650,000 workers doing what we do.

To differentiate our business in a competitive market, we’re always staying on the cutting edge of commercial electrical solutions. But we also recognize the importance of learning from the past, making note of best practices and understanding not just what works, but why it works.

What do you think was a notable achievement in the electrical industry over the last 100 years? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.

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