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Electricity and machines
ferreirascamp.jpg​Johannesburg is a modern city in every sense - tall skyscrapers, a complex network of freeways a bustling metropolis of industry and commerce, and a hub to which people are drawn. 
 
It was declared a city in 1928 but life for Johannesburg began 117 years ago, on 20 September 1886, when President Paul Kruger declared the area open for public digging, under the leadership of Carl von Brandis. The city grew quickly, from a tent town to wood and iron shacks, to brick buildings, within a decade or two.
The city kept pace with Paris and London in new developments towards the end of the 19th century - electric lighting, motor cars and telephones. In 1976, historian and former chief librarian of the city, Anna Smith, compiled a book called Johannesburg Firsts, for which she painstakingly researched many of the city's firsts.
Here is a look at some of the examples recounted in that book:
The first electric street lamp was erected on the corner of Rissik and President streets in October 1895. Wright & Graves advertised something called "K boots" in the first electric sign, around 1905. The first gas lamp was erected on 17 November 1892 by the Johannesburg Lighting Company. The first electric trams were introduced in March 1906, travelling from the town to Siemert Road in Doornfontein. These trams ran until March 1961 when they were discontinued.
The first car to be seen on the streets of the town a Benz Voiturette, used for advertising, and appearing in 1897. It was advertised in Standard & Diggers' News:
 
"Wanderers' Grounds, Wednesday, January 13, 1897, at 4pm sharp. 
The rage and topic of all Europe
The MOTOR CAR, or noiseless carriage.
The first and only one in South Africa, will exhibit on the Wanderers' Track . . . One exhibition only
Hess & Co, Proprietors"
 
The first telephone system came into being in September 1894, with around 200 subscribers. The hardware was imported from Paris, and came with the following instructions:
 
"I have been requested to point out that subscribers to the Telephone System should not wait for a return-bell after they have rung up the Central Station, by means of the black button on the instrument. When the latter has been pressed, the receiver should be taken from the hook and upon an enquiry from the Central, the name and number of the subscriber with whom connection is required, should be given. On the reply 'Voorwaarts' being heard, the receiver should be replaced on the hook, the white knob pressed and the return-bell awaited before taking the receiver down again . . ."
 
The tracks for Johannesburg's first train were laid in 1888 and the line from Joburg to Boksburg was opened in March 1890. It was called the Rand Tram. This line was extended to Springs in October 1890, and to Roodepoort in November 1890. The line from Cape Town reached Joburg in September 1892. The line to Pretoria opened in January 1893, to Maputo in November 1894 and to Durban in December 1895.
 
Jozi's first road was created in 1889, from Ferreira's Camp to Jeppestown, down a road that everyone knows - Commissioner Street. It was made by getting an ox wagon laden with stones to move up and down, dropping stones and making the road.