Farmer, Moses G.

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Moses Gerrish Farmer (1820-1893) an inventor who perhaps was the first person to have a room in his house lighted by electric incandescent sources. He lighted a room in his house at 11 Pearl St. Salem every night during the month of July, 1859. He used a galvanic battery in the cellar which furnished the electric current passed by wires up to his parlour where on the mantelpiece were two electric lamps. He discontinued it after a month because due to the acids and zinc consumed in the battery made the light cost four times as much as an equivalent amount of gas light.

Born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1840 and soon afterward taught at the Academy at Eliot, Maine. His interest developed broadly in the field of electricity. At age 26, he built an electric railroad and two years later improved the telegraph. At 30 he invented and constructed the fire alarm system with water powered dynamos and within 5 years, he discovered the means of duplex and quadrulex telegraph.

His daughter, Sarah Farmer found fame in the founding of Green Acre conference facility in Eliot, Maine in 1894. (The name Green Acre came from poet John Greenleaf Whittier, a personal friend of the Farmer family.)

After Sarah Farmer became a Bahá'í in 1900, many Bahá'í speakers were invited, including Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl in 1903, `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1912 and Jináb-i-Fadil-i-Mazindarani in 1920 and 1923. In the 1913 Green Acre came into Bahá'í hands, and in 1929 it was converted into a summer school facility. It is now one of several permanent, year-round Bahá'í schools in the US.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Farmer, Moses
  • "First electric lamp lighted here in 1859" Salem Evening News, May 4, 1948, p. ?
  • "The man who almost invented the telephone" Salem News, Dec. 29, 2008, p. 6
  • "Many tried to make electric lamps prior to success of Edison" Salem Evening News, Oct. 17, 1929, p. ?
  • "Salem staged the first exhibition of electric lighting: Prof. Farmer gave practical demonstration in Pearl Street home" Salem Evening News, Oct. 1, 1929, p.?