A tip o' the hat to Australian reader Snoggeramus for sending me the link to this news report.
Excavators in Brisbane have unearthed 134-year-old electrical cables known as "Edison tubes" under a CBD street, revealing the city's earliest power grid.
Designed by inventor Thomas Edison, the tubes date back to 1884, when they were laid beneath William Street to supply electricity to the parliamentary precinct.
. . .
Sections of the cables will be housed in London's Science Centre, the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey, Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, Commissariat Store Museum in Brisbane, the Highfields Pioneer Village in Toowoomba, as well as Parliament House.
"The legacy will be to show future generations how manufacturing occurred of electrical cables in the 1880s," [retired electrical engineer Brian] Beckinsale said.
"It was very difficult to actually construct, with the steel pipe and copper conductor down the inside and insulation in 20-foot [6.1-metre] lengths."
At the time they were invented, Edison decided 6.1 metres was the maximum length horses could carry as the tubes were transported across the laneways of New York.
There's more at the link, including photographs of the 'tubes'.
It's fascinating to read about those cables, the first ever designed to conduct power commercially from a generating station to the end user. In particular, at this distance from that period in time, we forget that horses were still the prime movers of their day. Internal combustion engines were not yet a factor. Everything was carried on wagons, pulled by horses or oxen. It seems very odd to our modern minds to have electric lights in a building that was served by animal transport only . . . but that's how it was at the dawn of the "electrical age".