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Bringing the benefits of electricity to farms and rural areas was mostly a dream in the early 20th Century. Many obstacles had to be overcome before the widespread use of rural electric power became practical. Today, many people in the United States have the mistaken idea that rural electrification suddenly appeared in 1935 when the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was established by executive order and the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 was subsequently passed. This impression is unfortunate for two reasons. First, it fails to recognize the aspirations and contributions of two full generations of electrical engineers, who worked in the field prior to 1935; and second, it ignores significant progress made in other geographical areas of the world. This article explores some of this earlier history, then presents material as prepared by members of the Rural Electric Power Committee (REPC) of the IAS about the history of their committee
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