80 years ago, Milwaukee residents didn’t have to worry about conserving electricity. The Electric Company was giving it away for free, as announced in this ad in the Milwaukee Journal, April 30, 1935. It was free, that is, as long as you used more than you did the previous month:
You see signs of it wherever you go–free electricity is flooding every neighborhood. In thousands of homes, lights are burning day and night–electrical appliances are being turned on–families are enjoying the pleasure and convenience of unlimited electric service. Hundreds of stores are lighting up for better business. Never before has the entire community taken up an offer with such enthusiasm!
During your Free Electricity period, use absolutely as much electricity as you please. Light up every room in the house. Keep a night light burning. Turn on the electric heater to take off the chill. Operate your radio. Use your electric range, vacuum cleaner, toaster, percolator, and other electrical appliances to your heart’s content. Remember–there’s no limit!