The fifth volume of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison covers Edison's invention and development of the first commercial incandescent electric light and power system. In the process he turned his famed Menlo Park laboratory into the first true research and development facility. This also enabled him to develop a new telephone for the British market in the midst of his herculean efforts on electric lighting.
In the face of daunting technical challenges and skepticism from leading scientists and engineers, Edison and his team of experimenters and machinists found the solution to the decades-old problem of creating a practical incandescent lamp. By focusing on the characteristics of the entire system Edison reconceptualized the requirements of a successful lamp design. While rivals worked primarily on lamps, Edison developed other parts of a complete system as well. This approach was most notable in his revolutionary work on generator technology, one of the highlights of this volume. Successful exhibitions of the system in December 1879 drew crowds to Menlo Park to witness the softly glowing lamps. These spectacles gratified his financial backers but Edison realized the importance of following experimental demonstrations with the hard work of commercial development. He needed to make each component work effectively in daily use and to improve the designs so that they were easy to use and inexpensive to manufacture. To create a daytime market for electricity he also developed electric motors for a variety of uses, including electric railways, for which he built a small demonstration line at Menlo Park. To accomplish all this Edison greatly enlarged his staff to as many as sixty experimenters, machinists, carpenters, and office workers. He began manufacturing lamps at a factory in Menlo Park. At the end of 1880, Edison was ready to move his system into commercial production and made plans to produce other components in New York. He also invited New York officials to a demonstration in order to win their approval for running underground lines in lower Manhattan where he planned to put his first commercial central station. In March 1881, he moved to the Edison Electric Light Company's headquarters on Fifth Avenue and began the hard work of introducing the new electric light and power technology.
Paul B. Israel is director and editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project at Rutgers University. Louis Carlat and David Hochfelder are, respectively, managing editor and assistant editor. Keith A. Nier is a former editor of the project.
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Thomas Alva Edison
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Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Alva Edison is one of Americas most famous inventors. He invented the sound recording device, motion picture, and the light bulb. Thomas Edison was an amazing man who accomplished many historically important successes during his lifetime. Edison obtained 1,o93 United States Patents in telegraphy, phonography, electric lighting and photography. Some of the inventions that Edison Discovered were improvements of other inventions, some were things that he invented himself, some things with other peoples help and some he just stumbled onto. Edison was most proud of his invention of the phonography. Edison tried to invent things that everyone could use. Edison created the first invention factory to invent things.
Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio in February 11, 1847 and died on October 18, 1931 in West Orange, New Jersey. Edison was the seventh and last child of Samuel and Nancy Edison. His parents had no special background. His mother was a former school teacher and his father was a jack-of-all trades. He ran grocery stores to real estate to carpenting. Edison was a very curios child who asked lots of questions. His brother’s and sister’s were Marion, William, Calie, Harriet, Samuel, and Eliza.
At the age of seven Edison’s family moved to Port Haron, Michigan. This is were Edison Began School. After 3 months of going to school Edison’s teacher consider him a dull student. Edison’s mom pulled him out of school and starting to teach him herself at home. His parents didn’t force him to learn things that he didn’t enjoy. They encouraged him to learn on his own. They were dedicated in teaching him. They wanted him to learn about things that interested him most. When he was nine years old his mom gave him a elementary science book. It explained how to chemistry experiments at home. Edison did every experiment in the book. Soon he loved chemistry and started spending all of his spare time and money buying and doing chemistry experiments. At the age of ten he had a science lab in his basement. His parents didn’t like this. He spent to much time doing this.
Edison was always out working to help support his family and for his experiments. Edison got his first job at the age of twelve as a train boy on the Grand Trunk Railway. Edison sold newspapers and candy to passengers. He also printed a newspaper every week called the Grand Trunk Herald.
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After about a year he got permission to move his science labatory to an empty train car. One day the train jerked really hard spilling chemicals everywhere and catching them on fire. The train conductor through him off the train. Then he got a job at the train station selling newspapers. Edison had many ear problems throughout his childhood. When he was fifteen he was grabed by the ear really hard and almost became totally deaf. It could of been fixed with an operation but, he would rather be deaf. It would help him concentrate he said. He started reading a lot after this, he went through shelf by shelf reading every book in the Detriot Free Library. He like reading the science books the best. After reading lots of books he realized his future would be in finding ways to make our lives better instead of just learning how something works.
One day while Edison was selling newspapers at the train station something happened that changed his life forever. Edison saved the life of a station officials child. The child had fell onto the tracks of an oncoming train. The child’s dad thanked Edison by teaching him how to use the telegraph. This is were it all began, after this Edison started inventing and discovering things all the time.
Edison made a telegraph out of scrap metal to practice the morse code. At the age of sixteen he moved to Toronto, Canada to be a telegraph assistant. His job was to report to Toronto every hour by telegraph signal. He made a transmitter and reciever for the automatic telegraph. This way he could send signals while he was sleeping. This was his first invention. He moved back to the United States later in his teens and went city to city working with different telegraph offices. He was fascinated with the telegraph and he was also an expert at it. In his early 20's he made it possible for the telegraph to send more than on message at a time. One day he decided to quit his job. He borrowed some money from a friend and lived in his basement. He decided to become a inventor and devote all of his time to it. The first invention he tried to sell and make money on didn’t succeed right away. It was the electric vote recorder, which is used today to count votes. Once he fixed a broken stock ticker so well he was hired to build new ones. Within the next year he invented the universal stock printer. He sold the rights for the stock ticker for $40,000. With all this money he started a business in Newark, New Jersey. He built stock tickers and high speed printing telegraphs and he also improved the typewriter. After six years at doing this he became a poor financial manager. He began to have money problems. He asked his father to help him build a new invention factory. He built this new building in the village of Menlo Park, New Jersey. Edison promised that he would build a small invention every ten days and a big one every six months. Sixty people could work in the new factory. The first invention that came out of the factory was the carbon telephone transmitter which is still used today. Edison achieved his greatest success in the new factory. Shortly after this Edison invented the phonograph. This was his favorite invention. This machine was a talking machine and a sound writing. Then his next big invention was the light bulb. This invention was a huge success in the world. People have been trying to make this forever and now it was possible. After all these great invention just came more. He made the first power station. This power station powered New York City. Then he discovered the electron tube. Without this ther might not have radios, T.V.’s, cd’s, computers, x-ray machines, or space travel. The inventions go on and on. In 1887 he moved from his labatory in Menlo Park to a bigger and better invention factory. This factory was ten times bigger and could hold up to five hundred workers. This is were he discovered lots more inventions. Thomas Edison had a huge impact on the United States. He never stopped, he just kept going and going. Thomas Edison never inventing until he died at the age of eithyfour on Sunday, October 18, 1931. Three days after is death the United States dimmed there lights to honor his memory for a minute. Where would be without Thomas Edison?