Chicago Edison was involved with
the Iroquois Theater before and after the fire. The company wired the
theater and installed light fixtures, then donated portable fixtures for
first responders. In addition to the Chicago company, Iroquois Theater
manager Will J. Davis had a business relationship with Thomas Edison.*
When lanterns were inadequate for firefighters and
rescuers at the Iroquois Theater, the Chicago Edison Company donated carbon
arc lamps for use inside the auditorium as well as in the street outside.
Sconce and "Etruscan crystal bowl" electroliers at the Iroquois were supplied by the
W. Wilmarth Company, a wholesaler who supplied fixtures to several other Klaw & Erlanger theaters in Chicago and around the Midwest.
The president of Wilmarth, Joseph H. Dimery, served as auctioneer for a
promotional Iroquois Theater seat auction in mid November, 1903, and was a
survivor of the Mr. Bluebeard matinee at the Iroquois Theater.
Chicago Edison building
was located at 139 Adams.
Chicago Edison sold hardware in its early days and went on to become
Commonwealth Edison. The building
pictured above housed the offices and a power house for 100,000 lights. The
building was designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge and built in 1887 or
Chicago Edison appliance
advertisement reveals interesting transitional period in technology.
Not every residence converted to electric lights had wall outlets
but there was usually a ceiling fixture.
* In Iroquois Theater
Will J. Davis’ estate was one of Thomas Edison’s personal business cards.
Yours truly came across it late one night while sorting through a
box of Davis' correspondence. It was just a business card, not
worth a great deal, not important enough to wake up my sleeping spouse, but a wow moment nonetheless. I was holding something that had been
touched by Thomas Edison, maybe carried in his breast pocket. There
were other gems in Davis' papers but discovering that card is one of those
involved in Iroquois Theater disaster