Collection Storage Facility
Ontario Hydro acquired this artifact for its Museum of Electrical Progress in the late 1960s, transferring it to the national collection in 1992.
The first arc lamps did not have globes and produced an electric arc of light between two carbons. They used a significant amount of oxygen and produced fumes and soot. Beginning in 1895, arc lamps had an inner glass cover to limit oxygen intake, and electrodes made of coke or graphite, which were purer than ordinary carbon. These new components reduced fire hazards and provided a whiter and more stable light, with a combustion time of over 150 hours.
The first arc lamp in Canada was installed in the Davis House hotel in Winnipeg on March 12, 1873. Five years later, J. A. Craig demonstrated the Yablochkov candle and arc technology in Montreal. Although the first arc lamps were open – they did not have globes – by the 1890s almost all commercial arc lighting used safer and more stable enclosed lamps. As the incandescent technology became available, the use of arc lamps declined by the 1920s.