How a Smart Home of the Past Used Technology That’s Built to Last

We talk about the latest tech news and gossip on this blog, but once in a while, it’s fun to look back at what was considered cutting edge tech in the past and see how it has shaped the fast-changing tech landscape we inhabit today.  A perfect example is to look at the smart home concept and how the latest technology was incorporated to impact the day to day operations of a 19th century mansion like the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  Comfort, security, high-tech gadgets and speedy transmission that we monitor and control from our smart phones now were unheard of when the Biltmore House was constructed over a hundred years ago, but the cutting-edge technology included in its design from all corners of the earth was the finest of its day.

Advanced technology was always a priority of the Vanderbilt family.  They were among the earliest investors in Thomas Edison’s Electric Light Company.  They invested some of the $30,000 that got the company going.  From the earliest drawing of the plans for Biltmore House by architect Richard Morris Hunt and owner George Vanderbilt, technology was discussed at length and included with great pains.  They even took a two months sojourn to search out the best features and latest designs in and around Europe.  The result was the largest private residence in America with more than 255 rooms, landscaped gardens and stables.  And today, you can use your smart phone to purchase a ticket through Groupon to take it all in.

 

By the time the family moved into their new residence, everything to enhance the comfort of the family had been included.  An elevator, electric lights, central heat, hot water piped into a plumbing system, and labor-saving devices such as a laundry room and commercial grade kitchen equipment amazed their visitors and kin.  These luxuries were incorporated into the house on a grand scale as befitting a home that was more of a hotel.  It offered new forms of utilities such as heat, light, power and sewers that ran through ducts, wires, cables, conduits, pipes and pulleys to an extent that assured George Vanderbilt had the most up-to-date technological amenities ever incorporated into an American home.  Using a Groupon you can take in the lush surrounding, sip white wine at sunset and wile away the hours just as he meant it to be with a Groupons which offers deals for 10% off tours and activities, 20% off their splendid white wines, and even more when you unlock special codes for other exclusive offers for fall.  The cutting-edge technology that Vanderbilt incorporated into his mansion over a hundred years ago suits it well today.  The technology we rely on to run our smart homes will likely be obsolete in 18 months to 2 years.

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