At the end of the 19th century electricity was a wonder to most people, the power source of the (relatively) cool and bright electric light and the telegraph. Both of these wonders of modern technology were available only a very privileged few . Electricity was a thing for businesses and government offices, and for individual use only by the wealthiest of people, far out of reach of the common American. The idea that electricity would be in the home of every American, from the richest to the poorest was only a distant dream.
However, by the turn of the century things were looking bright for the future of electricity. Tesla stunned America by lighting up the Colombian Exposition in Chicago using lights powered by his alternating current, showing America that electricity could be used by anyone, anywhere and setting the stage for an electrified America.