Like many of us, they often struggled to become comfortable with the latest technology and that's understandable. I often have some of those same struggles. Here's one story about one such case.
Benjamin Harrison’s Fear Of Electricity
Benjamin Harrison served as president from 1889–1893. While he didn’t have the most remarkable tenure, he embraced the technology of the era. He was the first president whose voice was recorded on a wax phonograph cylinder, and he modernized the US Navy, which only had two warships in its arsenal when Harrison took office. He also introduced electric lighting into the White House, although he and his wife were too afraid of being electrocuted to actually touch the switches.
In historical context, this was not such a silly notion. The 1890s was the time of the so-called “War of the Currents,” when even scientific heavyweights like Thomas Edison staged all kinds of horrifying publicity stunts to demonstrate just how dangerous alternating current electricity could be. On August 6, 1890, the electric chair was used to execute William Kemmler, who had murdered his common-law wife with a hatchet. Unfortunately, the execution was botched, and the first jolt failed to kill Kemmler. He was then hit again, resulting in an “unbearable” stench as his flesh began to singe. The fact that Harrison would rather sleep in a bright room than risk a similar fate hardly seems strange in retrospect.
I guess that being the Prez doesn't exclude you from having a few cases of the jitters with the latest in gadgetry. Sort of makes those guys seem a little more likable...sorta.
Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is coming back today.