Towers that mimicked the moon

Who could resist a story like this?

City leaders, racing to bring their towns into the future and encouraged by electric companies seeking the same destination, tried to find better ways, cheaper ways, quicker ways to illuminate the American landscape. And in their haste to vanquish nature by erasing the line between day and night, they ended up looking to nature as a guide. They looked up, seeking a model in the largest and most reliable source of nocturnal light they knew: the moon.

And so, for a brief and literally shining moment early in the days of human-harnessed electricity, the future of municipal lighting was glowing orbs suspended high above cities — towers, resembling oil derricks, capped with 4 to 6 arc lamps with a candlepower of 2,000 to 6,000 each. These man-made moons made the ultimate promise to the people below them: that they would never again be in the dark.

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Towers that mimicked the moon