Famous Inventions by Thomas Edison
Edison made history through a remarkable number of inventions and innovations; his lifetime tally reached 1,093. These achievements included revolutionary technological developments like commercial incandescent light bulbs and phonographs.
Edison invented and patented the phonograph in 1877, using needles on tinfoil-coated cylinders to record sound waves. He also devised both multiplex and sextuplex telegraphs.
The Light Bulb
Thomas Edison revolutionized household electricity with the incandescent light bulb and phonograph. But he didn’t stop there: his many inventions that made electric bulbs practical for everyday use included safety fuses and on/off switches for light sockets; manufacturing processes for carbon filaments were improved to make sure that enough brightly burning filaments existed to be useful; as well as improving carbon filament manufacturing techniques to produce brighter burn times than their counterparts from manufacturers like General Electric.
Born in 1847, Edison endured poverty until becoming a railroad telegraph operator during his teens. While working, he set up a mobile chemistry lab and printing press, as well as tinkering with equipment related to telegraphy. Soon after his boxcar accident at age 12 he took employment with Port Huron Michigan Railroad’s telegraph department and spent his free time working on inventions himself.
By the late 1870s, Edison had amassed enough wealth from his telegraph inventions to build a laboratory in rural Menlo Park and become engaged in the race to develop a commercially viable electric lamp. Rutgers University reports that at least 20 inventors were working simultaneously on it; Edison initially tried using carbon filament, but this burned out too quickly for commercial viability; subsequent attempts involved using tungsten instead due to its higher melting point and longer burning duration than carbon.
Edison revolutionized lighting technology while simultaneously developing revolutionary wiring systems to allow multiple bulbs to operate at once, making commercial production possible. He even discovered ways to distribute electricity over long distances by founding his first power utility and creating the Weber meter – an electrolytic cell-powered meter designed to measure electricity use.
The phonograph revolutionized how we experience sound. So revolutionary was its impact that when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences decided on what awards to name their music industry awards they considered calling them Eddie to commemorate Edison’s role in creating it. Edison was known for enhancing existing technologies to bring them to the masses; earning 1,093 patents in his lifetime along with numerous inventions that we take for granted today.
Edison developed a device capable of both recording and playing back sound based on ideas he was developing in the telephone field. On August 12, 1877 he produced a drawing which he called “Phonograph,” though construction did not start until November 29. At that time John Kruesi would construct the first working phonograph using tinfoil wrapped around a cylinder with grooves for recording purposes; whenever Edison spoke into his mouthpiece the machine would record all ups and downs of his voice onto this sheet allowing him to later playback this sound at his leisure.
Edison saw his phonograph as a multifunctional tool, suitable for teaching elocution, dictating for writing, reproducing music and telling time from clocks. Furthermore, it could preserve languages and their pronunciation while helping students grasp lessons more efficiently.
Edison quickly rose to fame for inventing the phonograph, and went on to show it off at events throughout Washington D.C. In April 1878 he traveled there with his phonograph to show it off for Congressmen, Senators and US President Rutherford B Hayes who was apparently astounded to hear such familiar phrases such as “Mary had a little lamb” play back at them!
The Motion Picture Camera
Edison is widely recognized for numerous inventions, but his most renowned achievement may well be the phonograph. First introduced to the public in 1877 as the first machine capable of recording and playing back sound recordings, its invention revolutionized life at that time. Edison discovered this idea when working on new types of transmitters for his telegraph company when his voice vibrations could be recorded onto an indentation in a cylinder and played back by means of needle playback; further experiments led to him creating an invention capable of recording, reproducing and reproducing sound records all at once!
This new device, which Edison called a phonograph, resembled a large cylindrical with a mouthpiece that users could speak into; when speaking into it, needles would find the grooves on the cylinder and recreate their voices. After initial attempts failed with recording pictures onto cylinders, Edison switched to using celluloid film first developed by George Eastman (later to become founder of Eastman Kodak camera company) in 1889 which later led to Edison creating his Kinetograph and Kinetoscope cameras as first movies cameras ever invented by him – revolutionary inventions if ever!
Modern scholars disagree about who should receive credit for inventing the motion picture camera; nonetheless, its invention was fundamental to making movies possible. Dickson created an innovative device which rapidly displayed still images at high speed to simulate movement – something never before done!
One source of inspiration may have been Eadweard Muybridge’s use of cameras placed along racetracks to capture sequential images of horses as they ran – known as magic lanterns – while another source may have been his photographic series taken over several months by Eadweard Muybridge which used slides to simulate movement.
The Dictating Machine
Edison first revolutionized electric lighting and then the phonograph before turning his attention to dictation machines. Eager to increase business communication efficiency, telegraph had dramatically enhanced information flows during the 1830s and 1840s but required an operator to interpret Morse code messages that came through; slowing message transmission rate by 25-40 words per minute.
Edison created and patented the first device capable of recording sounds at a higher frequency than the telegraph in 1877, initially intended as a means to record music but ultimately more used as a dictating machine (originally using tinfoil playback medium which later gave way to wax cylinders – see image). Dictation machines became particularly popular after World War I when office workers turned away from pen and paper in favor of speedier production methods such as these machines.
Edison set out to streamline the dictation process by devising a mechanical system that would automatically type each word dictated directly into a document. He wanted to eliminate human error when recording; as it can often be difficult for stenographers to catch every spoken word. Machine dictation allowed the dictator to work uninterrupted by interruption from their stenographer.
Dictionating machines of this era were complicated due to using multiple forms of media and required complex assembly and operation processes, making them less user-friendly than modern magnetic tape dictation machines introduced on the market in the 1950s. Yet one common theme among advertisements of these devices is depictions of busy male dictators with cheerful young female typists–images which still pop up frequently even today as promotional literature for these dictation devices!
The Alkaline Battery
Edison is remembered most fondly for inventing the storage battery – one of his greatest contributions to America. Nowadays, batteries power nearly all electronic devices that don’t need constant access to an outlet and without them many everyday electronics would become unusable.
Edison first created the alkaline battery in 1901 as part of his desire to produce something lighter and more energy-efficient than lead batteries used at that time in automobiles. Unfortunately, though it did not meet his hopes of powering cars effectively at first, later it would become one of his most profitable inventions.
A battery comprises an anode composed of zinc and cathodes composed of manganese dioxide. An ion conducting separator immersed in an alkaline electrolyte such as potassium hydroxide is also present.
Storage batteries use a combination of materials that allows it to produce high levels of current for an extended period. This makes these batteries highly popular today. These can be purchased in different sizes such as AAA, AAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAACCCDD9 V which are all specifically tailored to various applications with differing power demands.
Alkaline batteries may have higher internal resistance compared to other battery types, limiting its runtime; however, they still make an ideal choice for those on a tight budget who require power for devices around their home or work without spending an exorbitant sum on high-end technology. Common applications of alkaline batteries include remote controls, toys, cameras, flashlights and radios – popular devices using alkalines are remote controls, toys cameras flash lights radios etc.
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