This is a story before the time of television, when you are force fed election news as it is going on.
Lights of San Francisco Will Tell The Call’s Election News (1912)
From the San Francisco Call – November 5, 1912
One Interval – Wilson;
Two Intervals -Roosevelt;
Three Intervals – Taft
Watch the electric street lights of San Francisco tonight. They will tell you who is elected. And they will tell the people of every town around the bay who can look hitherward and catch the gleam of our myriad arc lights.
No such system of election signals has ever been used here. It is The Call’s idea. Its execution is made possible by the courtesy of the mayor, the United Railroads and the Pacific Gas and Electric company.
“Good! Go ahead,” said Mayor Rolph when The Call asked him about it.
“Count on us,” was the hearty response of Thornwell Mullally for the United Railroads, which lights a considerable part of the main thoroughfares traversed by its lines.
“Fine! We’ll be glad to do our part,” came from George C. Holberton, San Francisco district manager of the Pacific Gas and Electric company.
So tonight, from the time darkness falls until the news is in and thus delivered, picked men will be waiting in the control stations of the United Railroads and of the Pacific company – waiting for the flash from The Call on which they will simultaneously throw the switches and block out for an instant the miles on miles of arc lamps that light San Francisco’s streets.
This will be the code of signals to tell who has won the presidency:
If Wilson wins – One blink of the arc lamps, one interval of darkness.
If Roosevelt wins – Two intervals of darkness.
If Taft wins – Three intervals of darkness.
It will be a unique method of telling the biggest story of the day to a whole city – to all the nearby country that can see the twinkling lights of the metropolis.
Watch for the electric street lights tonight to “go dark” and give the news -The Call’s election news.