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Ontario Hydro acquired this artifact for its Museum of Electrical Progress in the late 1960s, transferring it to the national collection in 1992.
This arc lamp has a mechanism to regulate electric current, and two pairs of charcoal electrodes that can generate a purple-hued arc and produce from 16 to 20 hours of open-air combustion.
This type of open arc lamp, called a "Thomson-Rice" arc lamp, is named after Elihu Thomson and E. W. Rice, engineers and inventors of electric lamps, who in 1883 created the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, one of the earliest manufacturers of electrical equipment. In 1892, Thomson, Rice, and Thomas Edison merged their companies to create the General Electric Company, which still operates today.
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