SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention
Are you interested in the history of technology and electricity? Well if you answered yes and are in the Bellingham Washington area, the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention is the place for you to go and learn about the history of electricity.
SPARK is a nonprofit organization with the mission to provide exciting and educational experiences for all audiences, of any age, and to inspire innovation through a collection of artifacts and knowledge of electricity. The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention in Bellingham Washington is one of the largest and most complete collections of its kind. The museum holds many substantial items in electrical history, including the first transcontinental telephone, the Scott Philharmonic Radio, the Edison Electric Pen, and Edison’s first successful electric lamp. If you are interested in learning a bit more about these items and many others, you are in the right place.
There are a large number of objects and items on display, however the museum also integrates some interactive aspects throughout the museum to help visitors learn and experience electricity in a way. A few monumental items were mentioned above, but let’s jump into some of the prized items on display in the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention.
Edison’s First Successful Electric Lamp
Edition didn’t actually invent the electric light, arc lights had been around for a while. In the mid-1870s many inventors toyed with the idea of making arc lights on a smaller scale than the current factory lighting. Thomas Edison created this incandescent lamp to use less power and be adequate in a home or smaller scale. There are only 3 of the original 60 lamps left, and one is in the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention in Bellingham WA.
David Sarnoff Horn Loudspeaker
David Sarnoff was the President of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). In 1924 he paid a group of Czechoslovakian artisans to create a pair of horn speakers. The speakers were beautiful, but reproduction costs made them too expensive to recreate and sell on a large scale. One of these horn speakers was bought at auction by John Jenkins and is now on display in the SPARK Museum.
The First Transcontinental Telephone
This is one of the four telephones used on January 25, 1915 to inaugurate the transcontinental telephone line. The transcontinental telephone line was able to connect the West Coast and East Coast, San Francisco to New York).
Edison Electric Pen
This pen was built in 1876 by Thomas Edison. A small motor moves the small needle up and down creating small holes as the writer writes on special paper. Later, ink is pressed through the small holes of that paper to print the writing on a new paper. This was like the first version of a copy machine.
The MegaZapper Electrical Show
Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30 you can catch the MegaZapper Electrical Show, a live show demonstrating the power of electricity through lightning bolts of energy. This show can turn your visit to the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention into an experience.The show wraps up with a few audience members, ages 18 and up, being invited to enter the ‘Cage of Doom’ where they will be bombarded with volts of loose electricity blasting out of one of the largest Tesla coils in the country. This is a can’t miss sight to see. If you are in the Bellingham area, don’t miss the chance to see electricity in action.
Looking for another fun activity in Bellingham? Whatcom Falls Park is a great place to visit, with just a short hike and a few stunning waterfalls, it is the perfect way to get outside.