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Edison and Steinmetz statues closer to basking in light

Edison and Steinmetz statues closer to basking in light

Thomas Edison and Charles Steinmetz, two men synonymous with bringing light to the world, are still
Edison and Steinmetz statues closer to basking in light
The unveiling of bronze statues of Thomas Edison and Charles Steinmetz on Erie Boulevard in downtown Schenectady on Friday, May 22, 2015.

Thomas Edison and Charles Steinmetz, two men synonymous with bringing light to the world, are still standing in the dark at the corner of Erie Boulevard and South Ferry Street.

Statues of the two individuals so closely associated with the early history of the General Electric Co. were erected in May 2015 by the Schenectady County Chamber Foundation. The two life-size figures were created by Penn Yan sculptor Dexter Benedict.

On Thursday, the SCCF and Brian Merriam, chairman of the Edison-Steinmetz Statuary Project, announced that GE had agreed to a matching grant to install lighting and complete the work.

“The only part of the project not completed is the permanent lighting,” Merriam said in a SCCF press release. “The lighting was designed by graduate students at [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute] as part of their master’s degree program. We are grateful for General Electric’s offer to match the funds we raise, dollar for dollar, and would like to see the lighting installed by the end of 2016.”

SHE Lighting of Schenectady is providing materials to do the work, and the cost to finish the last phase of the project is $3,000.

Edison and Steinmetz were two key figures in the electrification of America in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Edison invented the light bulb and brought his Edison Electrical Works to Schenectady in 1886, while Steinmetz earned the nickname of Wizard of Schenectady for his work at GE implementing Edison’s vision while also making electrification more practical and efficient.

Donations from businesses and individuals helped get the Edison-Steinmetz Statuary Project up and running three years ago. Anyone wishing to make a contribution now should visit www.2wizards.org.

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