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American Lucifers – The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865 - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865

Jeremy Zallen


The myth of light and progress has blinded us. In our electric world, we are everywhere surrounded by effortlessly glowing lights that simply exist, as they should, seemingly clear and comforting proof that human genius means the present will always be better than the past, and the future better still. At best, this is half the story. At worst, it is a lie. From whale oil to kerosene, from the colonial period to the end of the U.S. Civil War, modern, industrial lights brought wonderful improvements and incredible wealth to some. But for most workers, free and unfree, human and nonhuman, these ... More

Keywords: history of light, environmental history, labor history, industrial slavery, capitalism, Atlantic World, energy, technology, United States, antebellum

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9781469653327
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020 DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653327.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jeremy Zallen, author
Lafayette College