Thomas Alva Edison: Inventing the Electric Age

Thomas Alva Edison: Inventing the Electric Age

Thomas Alva Edison: Inventing the Electric Age

Thomas Alva Edison: Inventing the Electric Age

Synopsis

Thomas Alva Edison revolutionized daily life as few people before or after him have done. The light bulb, the phonograph, motion pictures--through these and countless other technological marvels Edison left an indelible mark on the modern world. Although he had little formal education, Edison showed a remarkable talent for practical science as a teenager and was only in his early twenties when he launched his inventing career. In 1876, he established the world's first industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, and within six years he and his assistants had developed a light-and-power system that amazed the world. For more than half a century, Edison remained active and involved in science and invention. Upon Edison's death in 1931, President Herbert Hoover asked the nation to dim its lights in tribute to the inventor.

Excerpt

On the evening of December 31, 1879, the tiny village of Menlo Park, New Jersey, became the site of a New Year’s party unlike any the world had ever seen. People were arriving by the trainload to gaze in awe at the latest wonder to emerge from the laboratory of the inventor Thomas Alva Edison.

Just two years before, Edison had astounded the world with the phonograph—a machine that talked. To the crowds that were swarming to Menlo Park that evening, he had promised something even more amazing. It was an electric light that could be used in homes, offices, and schools—a remarkable technical innovation that promised to make gas lighting and oil lamps obsolete. The product of months of intensive labor, the invention was now ready for display to the general public.

As the visitors arrived at the little Menlo Park station, they were greeted with a series of glowing glass bulbs mounted on posts along the street leading toward Edison’s laboratory. Bulbs burned as well in six nearby houses. Two lights shone above the gate at the entrance to the laboratory grounds, while several more illuminated the yard surrounding the lab.

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