In response to gas illumination at the opening of Iolani Palace, 1913.

Palace Never Had Gas–First Electric Light

There was no “local gas plant” to illuminate the palace in Kalakaua’s reign. Kerosene was the illuminant there until 1886, when the late D. P. Smith, representing the Houston-Thompson company, installed the first electric lighting plant in Honolulu, especially for the Iolani palace. It was in the legislative session of that year that a noble, who is still living, opposed the palace electric lighting appropriation, saying that the electric light was then “merely a toy” in the States. A local paper put him right with the information that for several years past steamships in Atlantic coast docks had been working cargo all night by the electric ray, and that some cities in the states had for some time been lighted by electricity. It was funnier what the premier said, though, defending the appropriation. “The electric light is a great improvement,” he naively remarked. “All you have to do is to strike a match, and you have your light.”

(Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 1/11/1913, p. 8)

Palace Never Had Gas--First Electric Light

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Volume XX, Number 6482, Page 8. January 11, 1913.

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