Charles Brush

Charles Brush Arc Light Inventor

Continuing our look at Lake View Cemetery and its famous residents, today we “shine our light” on Charles F. Brush. In 1879, Charles Brush would invent the first arc lamp. His lamp burned as brightly as four thousand candles. This was too bright for the inside of people’s homes so he chose to look outside to market his light to cities to light their streets.

On April 29, 1879, Brush placed twenty arc lamps in the city’s Monumental Park (Public Square) to show Cleveland’s residents. People of course had never seen this before and had no idea what to expect. Many thought it would be bright as day light. The city was very impressed with his new technology and Cleveland would become the first in the US to have electric street lights.

Today outside the Society for Savings Buildings on Public Square is an iron lantern designed by John Root in 1890 that commemorates Brush’s achievement.

Charles Brush and much of his family are buried in Section 10 of Lake View Cemetery.

See the lantern and the Society for Savings Building on our Downtown Highlights walking tour and explore the inside of the building on our Cleveland From the Inside walking tour. Learn more, see our schedule and book at www.toursofcleveland.com.

Brush family grave in Lake View Cemetery
The lantern in downtown Cleveland that honors Brush’s invention.