Inventors are crafty individuals, who like to spend most of their time alone with their deep and creative thoughts. The reason we have so many inventions, making our lives easier by the day is due to months of untiring efforts of these inventors. Therefore, if we have to learn by example and come up with techniques for creative inventing, we need to look at our predecessors and replicate their methods.
Now that could be a problem, as there are so many inventors with marvelous creations. For this article, we will explore the techniques and lifestyle of Thomas Edison, a renowned inventor with many famous creations.
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How did Thomas Edison work?
Thomas Alva Edison is one of the most prominent and prolific inventors of our time. He contributed inventions like the incandescent lightbulb, the phonograph and the motion picture camera as well as improving the telephone and telegraph. He acquired 1,093 patents in his 84-year career.
Edison was not only an inventor but also a successful businessman and manufacturer, who successfully promoted his inventions to the public. Edison was involved in many business partnerships, partnerships and corporations. Competition from other companies soon created constant legal battles between them and Edison over patents. Edison sued many companies for infringement.
Edison and the Light Bulb
Edison is globally renowned for inventing the light bulb. Technically, Humphry Davy was the first inventor of the light bulb when he experimented with batteries and carbon. Davy’s experiment was successful when he connected carbon to his battery, making the carbon glow and producing light. However, his version of a light bulb was not efficient for mass production.
Edison on the other hand, invented the light bulb that could be powered, using the electricity from power grids, thus, making a more refined and usable version. Light bulbs were revolutionary when they first came into being and an instant hit. It would completely change the world and make the lives of people much more convenient, which is exactly what happened.
Edison was proud of his invention and went on a public demonstration on December 31, 1879. The demonstration was held at the Menlo Park and the public witnessed, for the first time, a refined incandescent light bulb. It was also during this demonstration when Edison claimed: “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles”. Of course, what he claimed did come true, as lighting equipment and light bulbs are just ‘usual things’ these days.
Edison was granted a patent on January 27, 1880 that describes the principles of his incandescent lamps. This patent opened the door for global electric light domestic use. His patent number is US223898A
Inventing the perfected version of the light bulb wasn’t that simple, it took Edison more than a 1,000 tries to come up with a model that could be commercially mass-produced. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
The invention of the light bulb changed America; it gave people a creation that would forever put candles away and add convenience to their life. However, there was just a slight problem. Back in the day, electricity was not as common as it is today.
Therefore, there was no source to power the light bulbs even if you had the luxury to purchase one. Edison, of course, knew this would be a problem that needs to be sorted, which is why he established his first electric production and distribution company. The company that later became General Electric.
Edison, a pioneer in mass-producing electricity, rivaled Nikola Tesla, another leading inventor at the time. Edison’s company started by distributing electricity to 59 customers, and later went on to establish multiple powerhouses around the country, marking a new era that relied on electrical power.
Thomas Edison and Other Inventions
Edison did not just invent the light bulb; his life was devoted towards inventing products that could benefit humanity in different ways. While not all of his inventions witnessed success and fame, he was a proud inventor of many creations that changed the facet of the world.
The United States moved from the gaslight era to the electric age thanks to Edison. Edison was fascinated by the mechanics and technology of the universe from the moment he was a child. He had no formal education but he brought forth many innovations that still dominate our lives. Edison is one of the most prolific inventors ever. His New Jersey laboratories were full-equipped and staffed and came with 1,093 patentable inventions.
Here are some of his inventions:
One of his most notable inventions apart from the light bulb was the telegraph, which allowed long-distance communication using Morse code. During the era, it was a marvelous invention that would allow sending messages to people around the world via electrical signals. The coding language for the telegraph was developed by Samuel Morse, hence, the Morse Code.
One of his other prominent inventions was the alkaline battery, which is still widely used to date. Alkaline batteries were a breakthrough in battery capacity, as they would hold more charge for a longer duration. The chemically induced batteries made it easier to create smaller batteries that would last longer.
The Later Years
Over the next few decades, Thomas was transitioning from an inventor to an industrialist. His newly found laboratory located in West Orange was probably too large for one man to handle, and Edison realized he was not as successful in his new role compared to being an inventor.
He also realized that most of his future development and perfection of his creations were being controlled by scientists and university-trained mathematicians. He worked best in unstructured environments with few assistants, as he was outspoken about his contempt for the academic world and corporate operations.
He also faced a few failures in his life, as an inventor and business person, when he created a talking doll and a house that could be mass produced using concrete. His talking doll version was too advanced for his time perhaps. However, throughout his life, Edison was a true genius who came up with inventions that inspired civilizations and changed lifestyles. Despite the challenges and shortfalls in Edison’s life, he stood strong and continued to forge his way through his inventions.