9 Inventions You Never Realized Was Thomas Edison
Edison birthed the modern world!
Pneumatic Stencil Pen
What does Thomas Edison have to do with the tattoo trend? Much more than you might have thought!In 1876, the Pneumatic Stencil Pen, or electric pen, was invented to use as a duplicating device. Marketed as the Mimeograph, it was later modified by Samuel O'Reilly in the 1890's, who discovered you could introduce ink into skin and modified it to suit that use. To think that Thomas Edison would have played a part in the counter-culture and expressive art that would become tattooing through a duplication machine he made back in the 1870s!
The phonograph was Edison's first great invention and completely revolutionized the way we interact with sound. iPods, smartphones, record players, CD's and cassettes all owe their existence to the phonograph, also known as the gramophone. This device had two needles, one for recording and one for playback. When you spoke into the microphone, a diaphragm would transfer the sound waves of your voice into the needle, which in turn made punctures in tin foil on a cylinder. For the first time, you could listen to a symphony, or keep a voice diary, as well as bring the device with you wherever you'd like. Patented in 1877, this long forgotten device was mostly seen as a luxury, but it certainly helped to make Edison rich!
While electric generators had existed before, the Edison Dynamo made serious strides in generator technology.Edison was trying to find a way to power his incandescent lightbulb, but the traditional arc light generators just couldn't output the power he needed. After literally going back to the drawing board, he designed a generator which had a smaller internal resistance in order to produce power more efficiently. He did this by leaning on the Michael Faraday's research in electromagnetism.
The Electric Automobile
You read that right. One wouldn't think that Edison would want to have anything to do with electric cars, right? While, eventually, Edison would relent and do business with Henry Ford, after the automobile was introduced in the 1890s, Edison set to work on creating a fully electric car that could drive 100 miles without needing to recharge. For awhile, he went head to head with Henry Ford, though, after some controversy with battery failures, he had to take a few years to redesign the battery. By the time he had reintroduced his electric car, gasoline-powered automobiles had become the industry-standard.
When the original Bell telephone came on the market, there were some problems with the receiver. It operated inconsistently, but others saw an opportunity to make a serious cash. Thomas Edison was one of those men. He joined forces with Frederic Gower to create a new receiver called the Motograph or chalk receiver. It worked well and was very efficient, utilizing a drum of chalk soaked in potassium bromide which, when electrolyzed and voltage applied, would cause varied friction between the chalk and a stylus which would produce sound. It was also sold as the Edison Loudspeaking telephone and would help spread the telephone across the world.
The Motion Picture Camera
Every movie you've ever seen is only here thanks to Thomas Edison!In the 1890s, Edison designed a camera that could take picture so quickly and in such succession that the objects in the pictures seemed to move. This is achieved thanks to the nature of the human eye. At about 24 frames per seconds, individual pictures appear to be in motion, if successive photos can be taken. Edison created a prototype called the Kinetographic Camera, but would later be called the motion picture camera. This one invention became the medium through which huge amounts of expression and culture would be exported across the globe!
Cement Rotary Kiln
Chances are, you've seen those cement trucks on the road with the constantly rotating kiln in the back. That's just one more thing you can thank Thomas Edison for. During his attempts to process low-grade iron ore, Edison discovered he could sell off the waste of his milling process. It was during these business deals that he created the rotary kiln. In fact, Edison's participation in the cement industry contributed to its overproduction. At the turn of the century, as it stands today, cement is one of the cheapest and strongest building tools ever created.
The carbon microphone was the very first device that could transmit an acoustic signal into an analog signal. It would be the predecessor to all the technology that we are entertained by today.Television, radio, the cinema, electric guitars, all of these would not have been possible without Thomas Edison's invention of the carbon microphone in 1877. At the time, it was colloquially called a "transmitter." With this, you could amplify your voice, as well as record it on a patented Edison Gramophone. While we tend to think of only light bulbs when it comes to Edison, he was responsible for bringing all of the music and film that anyone would ever hear or see to fruition.
Industrial Electrical Systems
You can't sell a lightbulb without an infrastructure of electricity to supply it power. This was the backbone of Edison's success.Thomas Edison pioneered the first commercial power station and standardized the way that we would generate electricity for consumer use to this day. All of the hallmarks were there: central generation, efficient distribution, a competitive force, and an end product: the lightbulb. While we all know about that last part, we don't give much thought to the infrastructure that made the lightbulb a success. Without it, there was no way to take back the night!
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