Museum of Early Trades & Crafts


The Explosive and Dirty History of Light

Artificial light shaped our world, but people shaped its forms. SPARK! The Explosive and Dirty History of Light in New Jersey showcased the beautiful (and often dangerous) candles, oil lamps, and other lighting devices that lit homes in the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibit also introduces the craftspeople who grappled with tallow, whale oil, and finally petroleum to make that light possible. These people and the technologies they pioneered paved the way for the electric lights that power our communities today. Light continues to shape our lives in profound ways. This exhibit explored some of the new technologies that will allow future generations to enjoy the benefits of light while also preserving the environment and its resources.

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