On this day (August 9), 1884, San José (Costa Rica) became the first city in Latin America to have electric lighting.
The history of lighting goes from the control of fire by the first humans to the present day, passing through lighting with kerosene or gas in the 19th century.
San José de Costa Rica in 1884 was a small town with scattered coffee plantations around 50,000 inhabitants.
The town was lit, like many others around the world, with kerosene. There were a few street lamps with kerosene that a person in charge turned on and off manually.
At that time, only New York began to have constant lighting in its city. And Paris also had lighting although it seems that it was not constant but they did it according to international events. Some other city had also done specific tests, but nothing serious.
Two years earlier, in 1882, Manuel Víctor Dengo, the first mechanical engineer from the University of Santo Tomás in Costa Rica, returned from New York to Costa Rica. Manuel Victor Dengo saw in New York the electric station installed by Thomas Edison on Pearl Street.
Manuel Victor Dengo presented a lighting project to the government, which it accepted. He associated with Luis Batres founding the Costa Rica Electric Company.
The project was to install a small hydroelectric plant by diverting some pipes that fed an oxen pool to power 25 streetlights scattered around the town.
The opening day was a spectacle. On August 9, 1884, 25 light bulbs lit up the gathered crowds, filling them with admiration, astonishment, surprise, disbelief, joy, fear,...
- Turn on the lights
- with that switch
- ... oooohhhhhh!... magic!
- no, electricity
- ....oooohhhhh!...electric magic!