An electric candle typically produced a light of 1,500 to 6,000 candlepower, which corresponds to the output of 11 to 43 modern 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. The temperature in the arc could rise to 4,000 degrees Celsius (more than 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest temperature that man achieved until the arrival of the atomic bomb.
(the inversed arc light above was a concept, it was never built)
Paris set the ball running in 1877, with 54 street lights on the Avenue de l’Opéra and 80 lamps in the Grand Magasins du Louvre. London
While European cities placed electric candles on posts, like we do today with street lights, the Americans had the idea of lighting entire cities and villages by means of a grid of towers that stood up to 300 feet (90 metres) tall.The first arc light tower was erected in
These structures, sometimes resembling oversized oil derricks, were equipped with 4 to 6 arc lights of 2,000 to 6,000 candle power each. Most of them burnt all night and all year (except at full moon) although some cities turned the lights off around midnight.
The idea of placing arc lights on towers did not go unnoticed in
Europe. It is believed that the Eiffel Tower in Paris, finished in 1889 and also equipped with powerful arc lights (below), was inspired by the first San José towe
Placing lamps over the intersection of streets is the best method when low arc lighting is desired. By placing a lamp over the intersection of a street, you place the lamp where it can do the most possible good, as it can light the streets equally in four directions a distance of about 400 feet radius of the lamp.”