A BELD TRADITION Since 1892
American entrepreneur Thomas A. Watson was working on a new type of electric transmitter with Alexander Graham Bell in March of 1876, when their experimentation led to the invention of the telephone.
Later Watson struck out on his own with his royalties—moved to Braintree, bought a farm, built a machine shop, and eventually ran the largest shipyard in America.
In 1891 Watson served as chairman of a committee that recommended that Braintree should have electric street lighting and should own its own generating plant. He said, “There are many reasons why in our opinion it is better for a town to own and operate an electric plant, but the chief reason is that a town can supply itself with light from its own plant cheaper than it can buy light from another company. The voters agreed, and Watson served as the first manager of the Electric Light Company, from 1892-1895.
Our 2009 Annual Report, “A Show of Character,” features some of the ways Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD) honors a public power tradition by serving the Town of Braintree through low rates AND by contributing additional services that help ensure that money stays within the community. We’re proud to be part of the character of this town—a BELD tradition since 1892.