Moses Gerrish Farmer was born Feb. 9, 1820 in Boxcawen, NH; His parents were John Farmer and Sally Gerrish Farmer. He married Hannah Tobey Shapleigh Farmer abd they had one child, a daughter, Sarah Jane Farmer. He entered preparatory school at Andover in 1832; attended Dartmouth, but withdrew because of ill health; he worked briefly in a civil engineer's office and was affiliated with various private schools in New England; married Hannah Tobey Shapleigh in 1844; while he was a school principal in Dover, NH, he invented a machine to print paper window shades; began work with the electric telegraph, eventually taking charge of the telegraph line between Boston and Newburyport, MA; in 1848 he invented what became the first electric fire alarm system in the US; discovered means for duplex and quadruplex telegraph; in 1858-59 invented an incandescent electric lamp; in 1866 he patented a self-exciting dynamo; appointed as electrician of US Torpedo Station at Newport, RI; consulting electrician, U.S. Electric Light Co. of New York; died in 1893. 5
The name of an inventor appears in the incandescent lamp history books who was, perhaps, the first person to have a room in his house lighted by electric incandescent sources. His name was Moses Gerrish Farmer (1820 - 1893) and he lighted a room in his house in Salem, Massachusetts every night during the month of July, 1859. 1
Here is an acount of the lighting from Scientific American: 2
'Some few of the citizens of Salem...will doubtless recollect a parlor at No. 11 Pearl Street, Salem, Mass., which was lighted every evening during the month of July, 1859, by the electric light, and this electric light was subdivided too! This was nineteen years ago, and it was undoubtedly the first private dwelling house ever lighted by electricity. A galvanic battery, of some three dozen six gallon jars, was placed in the cellar of the house, and it furnished the electric current, which was conveyed by suitable conducting wires to the mantel-piece of the parlor, where were located two electric lamps, one on each end of the mantel-piece. (I would not wonder if the screw holes were there at this day.) Either lamp could be lighted at pleasure, or both at once, by simply turning a little button to the right for a light, to the left to extinguish it. No matches, no danger, no care to the household, nor to anyone except to the man who attended the battery. The light was noticed as being soft, mild, agreeable to the eye, and more delightful to read or sew by than any light ever seen before. Its use was discontinued at that time, for the simple reason that the acids and zinc consumed in the battery made the light cost about four times as much as an equivalent amount of gas light.'
Popular Electricity July 1910
Electrica Development 1946
Applied Electricity 1912
Pawtucket Times July 26, 1897
The Fall River Daily Herald
December 13, 1878
April 5, 1924
1 Farmer, Moses G. (Moses Gerrish), 1820-1893
2 "The First Electric Lamps", Scientific American, 11 Jan 1879, p.17.
3 "An Analysis of Some of the Edison Patents for Electric Lighting", The Electrician and Electrical Engineer, Vol.4, Jul 1885, p.246.
4 "An Analysis of Some of the Edison Patents for Electric Lighting", The Electrician and Electrical Engineer, Vol.4, Jul 1885, p.246.
5 Moses Gerrish Farmer, Find A Grave