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Artifact: Just Another Publicity Stunt

Findings from the streets, files, and hard drives of New York.

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Back in the day, Christmas trees were decorated with lit candles. In 1882, an executive at Thomas Edison’s brand-new electric company tried something new. Edward H. Johnson wired 63 handmade lightbulbs in a string and, hoping to get some attention for his fledgling company, invited reporters to see them draped around this tree in his home on West 12th Street.


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