"I think we are making history."

Just seconds before Karl B. McEachron, one of General Electric's so-called "Lightning Wizards," spoke, a 15-million volt man-made lightning bolt ripped across the room, jumping the 50-foot gap between two generators. The feat was part of a demonstration on the opening day of the company's new High Voltage Engineering Laboratory.

And indeed, history was made that day, June 23, 1949, as GE topped the previous record of 5-million volts of man-made lightning jumping a span of 30-feet. That record, also held by GE engineers, was accomplished in the Pittsfield plant's previous facility.

Want to learn more about the Lightning Wizards? Read: Mysteries from the Morgue: Why were GE's High Voltage Lab engineers known as 'lightning wizards'?

Acting Features Editor

Jennifer Huberdeau is the acting features editor. Prior to The Eagle, she worked at The North Adams Transcript. She is a 2020 New England First Amendment Institute Fellow and a 2010 BCBS Health Care Fellow.