Caught in the Current... Reeling in Edison's Bright Idea

It started as a conversation between two old fishing friends who were spending the day on Lake Winnebago and it ended with Hearthstone, the world's first home to be electrified using a hydroelectric central power station employing the Edison system.  It was the first day of the black bass season in the spring of 1882.  H. J. Rogers, an industrialist in Appleton, was hosting his friend H. E. Jacobs for a day on the lake.  As Mr. Jacobs began telling his friend how enthusiastic he was for his new job with the Western Edison Light Company of Chicago, Mr. Rogers soon found the idea of electrifying his house and nearby mill more interesting than fishing.

Hearthstone's new exhibit, "Caught in the Current... Reeling in Edison's Bright Idea," tells the story of fishing in the 1880s with antique lures, rods, reels, and other gear and memorabilia in almost every room of the house.  But it also tells a larger story, one of the dawn of electrification, of people with vision, and of how a day on the lake changed the world.  "Caught in the Current" opens April 5 and runs through September 30, 2018.

Hearthstone Historic House Museum located on the corner of Prospect Avenue and Memorial Drive at 625 W. Prospect Ave is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 am - 3:30 pm and Sunday 1 - 3:30 pm.Find us at

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