W.N. Ferris decided his new building should be as modern as possible, and on Jan. 30, 1895, signed a two-year contract to light the building with incandescent electric lights. The contract was made with a Chicago firm. The rate was to be three-fourths of a cent per ampere per month according to meter measurement to be paid for between the first and fifth days of each month.
The contract stated that in case the light supply should fail either from natural or accidental causes, the supplier would not be liable for damage caused from such failure. The contract also called for Ferris to be responsible for replacing burnt out lamps. The school also was to be responsible for any change made in fixture placement. And the contract called for "Prof. Ferris" getting the same rate for his residence.
Whether Ferris extended this contract past the two years is not certain; however, the light system was none too successful. In February of 1900 Ferris wrote to a prospective entertainer coming to the Institute for a program to say, "We might be able to make arrangements to use electric lights, but as we are now situated, electric lights are very uncertain, so please be prepared to use gas."