Cannon Beach Library

Cannon Beach Reads: The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America (Virtual Event)

The book that will be discussed via Zoom on Wednesday, May 19, will be The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America, by Ernest Freeberg. The Age of Edison is a fascinating exploration of how electric lighting changed American society.

The nineteenth century was a period of amazing inventions: the phonograph, telegraph, telephone, and moving pictures were all invented during the 1800’s, and Thomas Edison played a role in these inventions. But perhaps the most important invention was electric light, which safely and reliably kept darkness at bay, and extended people’s ability to work and play beyond daylight hours.

Freeman examines earlier efforts at providing artificial light (oil lamps, gas, candles); retells the race to develop incandescent lighting; and analyzes the impact of electric light on work, leisure, transportation, and civic life. In the process he explains why Edison was regarded as the “wizard” of the era, and examines reasons for America’s dominance in invention during this period.

Ernest Freeberg is a distinguished professor of humanities at the University of Tennessee. He is the winner of the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History and the Eli M. Oboler Award from the American Library Association. His other books include The Education of Laura Bridgman, and Democracy’s Prisoner.

The Age of Edison has been described as “a captivating intellectual adventure,” “a vivid social history,” and “a dynamo of a book.” Joe Bernt will lead the discussion, which will take place via Zoom, on Wednesday, May 19, beginning at 7 p.m. Cannon Beach Reads plans to meet via Zoom on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. until in-person meetings are possible again. New members are always welcome. If you would like to join in, contact Joe Bernt at

The Age of Edison



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