IN THE EARLY 1930s few farmers in Ohio had electricity. Only one farmer in five had electric line service, for which he paid, on an average, about nine cents a kilowatt. And at that rate, of course, he used very little electricity. He had a single drop light in the center of the main room and he turned it on in the morning when it was too dark to see, turned it off the moment it got light outdoors, and turned it on for a brief period during the evening before he went to bed. The utility people weren't interested in supplying the farmer with electric power. As one of their representatives told me, "Farmers will never use enough electricity to warrant our building power lines. That's why we haven't built them."
Considering how little electricity the farmer used in those days, the argument seemed to have some validity. No one foresaw the electric washing machines, the electric pumps, the electric incubators and dryers that were soon to come. Today, on my own farm in Gahanna, Ohio, our electric bill runs to sixty-eight dollars a month, because we use so much electrical equipment. But in the thirties, even if a farmer found that he wanted a power line to his house, there were all sorts of connection charges that utility