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Thomas Edison Biography
Thomas, the youngest of four brothers, was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, a small town in Ohio where he had established his father, Samuel Edison, six years earlier. His father had to hastily abandon Canada as a result of a rebellion against the English in which he took part and ended in failure. Marginalized by the railroad, the activity in Milan was slowly decreasing, and the crisis affected the Edison family, who had to migrate back to a more prosperous place where his son Thomas had reached the age of seven years.
The new place of residence was Port Huron, Michigan, where the future inventor first attended school. That was one very brief experience, lasted only three months, after which he was expelled from the classroom, the teacher saying the absolute lack of interest and awkward but obvious, either to the behavior that was alien to partial deafness contracted in the aftermath of an attack of scarlet fever. His mother, Nancy Elliot, who had served as a teacher before marriage, assumed hereinafter education of the young baby of the family, a task that played with no little talent since it managed to inspire boundless curiosity that would feature Highlights of his career throughout his life.
Completed ten years, the little Thomas set up his first laboratory in the basement of his parents and taught himself the rudiments of chemistry and electricity. But at twelve, Edison also realized that he could exploit not only his creativity but also his keen practical sense. So, not to mention his passion for the experiments, considered in their power to win real money materializing some of the good ideas.
His first initiative was to sell newspapers and sweets on the train; the journey from Port Huron to Detroit. Had broken the Civil War and travelers were eager for news. Edison convinced the railroad telegraph to describe in the bulletin boards of the station’s brief headlines about the development of the race, not to mention add to foot the full details that appeared in newspapers. Edison sold those newspapers himself on the train and the hand removed. At the same time, constantly bought journals, books, and equipment, and went on to become the baggage car of the convoy in a new laboratory. He learned to telegraph and, after getting a low price and a second-hand printing press, began publishing his newspaper, the Weekly Herald.
One night, while working in his experiments, some phosphorus spill caused a fire in the car. The train driver and the conductor managed to extinguish the fire and then threw through the windows printing supplies, bottles, and pots thousand crammed into the van. The entire laboratory to the inventor himself went to the track. Thus, the first business of Thomas Alva Edison ended. The young Edison was only sixteen when he decided to leave the parental home. The population was living too small. No lacking initiative was launched to search for new horizons. Fortunately, a perfect command of the telegraph office and civil war had left many vacancies, so that was where he was, he could easily find work.
Over the next five years, Edison led a wandering life, from town to town, with occasional jobs. He stayed in seedy pension and invested everything gained in the acquisition of books and equipment to experiment, completely disregarding his appearance; from Michigan to Ohio, thence to Indianapolis, then Cincinnati, and Memphis a few months later, having gone through Tennessee. His next job was in Boston, as a telegraph operator on the night shift. He arrived there in 1868, and shortly after his twenty years could be the work of British scientist Michael Faraday’s Experimental Researches in Electricity, whose reading was positively influenced. Until then, he only had earned the reputation of having some magical gift that allowed him to easily fix any faulty equipment.
Now, Faraday gave him the method to channel all his inventive genius. Became more orderly and disciplined, and had since acquired the habit of carrying a notebook, always ready to jot down any idea or fact that demanded his attention. Convinced that his career goal was the invention, Edison left the job and decided to become occupied by an independent inventor, recording his first patent in 1868. It was an electric vote counter offered to Congress, but House members rated the device superfluous.
He never forgot this lesson, the American inventor, an invention, above all, should be necessary. Penniless, he moved to New York in 1869. A friend provided shelter in the basement of the Gold Indicator Co., transmitting telegraph office to its subscribers the NYSE quotes. Soon after his arrival, the transmitting device broke down, causing no small stir, and he volunteered to repair it, to accomplish this with amazing ease. In return, he was entrusted with the technical maintenance of all company services. But as no interest in sedentary jobs, took the first opportunity presented to him to work again on his own. Very soon he received a commission from the Western Union telegraph company the most important then, urging him to build an effective printer trading on the exchange.
His response to this challenge was his first major invention: the Edison Universal Stock Printer. He was offered $ 40,000 by the apparatus, an amount that finally allowed him to settle down. He married in 1871 to Mary Stilwell, with whom he had two sons and a daughter, and installed a small but well-equipped workshop in Newark, New York, which continued to experience in the telegraph in search of further improvements applications. His greatest contribution in this field was the quad, allowing four telegraph messages transmitted simultaneously by a single line, two in one direction and two in another.
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The Menlo Park Laboratory
Edison soon raised to build a real research center, an “invention factory, ” as he called it, with a laboratory, library, workshop, and housing for himself and his collaborators to perform no matter what research, as to be practical, whether commissioned or self-interested. The economic resources were missing and the proportions of their projects as required.
He was looking for a quiet place outside New York until he found a deserted farm in the village of Menlo Park. The place was chosen to build his new headquarters, the first research laboratory in the world, where would leave inventions that would change the habits of many of the inhabitants of the planet. He settled there in 1876 (he was then twenty-eight years), and immediately went to work. The search for a satisfactory telephone transmitter claimed his attention. The invention by Alexander G. Bell, although theoretically well designed, generated a current so weak that it was used for general applications.
He knew that the graphite particles, as was more or less tightly, influenced the electrical resistance, and applied this property to create a device that amplified the sounds considerably weaker: the carbon granule microphone, which he patented in 1876. Edison was common in his work that led to another, and the previous case was no exception. While trying to perfect the Bell, he noted a fact that was quick to describe in his notebook: “I just had an experience with a diaphragm that has a blunt tip resting on a wax paper that moves quickly. The vibrations of the human voice are neatly printed, and there is no doubt that I can automatically pick up and play any audible sound when I get to work on it. “Released, then the phone, it was time to address the issue.
A cylinder, a diaphragm, a needle, and other supplies were enough to build in less than a year, the phonograph, the most original of his inventions, a device that met under the same principle recording and sound reproduction. Edison himself was surprised by the simplicity of his invention, but soon forgot about it and went on to address the problem of electric lighting, which seemed the more interesting solution. “I will provide light so cheap, “said Edison in 1879 – not only the rich will be able to burn their candles.” The answer was in the filament lamp. It was known that certain materials could become incandescent when a hot airless electric current was applied to them. All that remained was to find the most suitable filament. That is a metallic conductor that could be heated to incandescence without melting, keeping in this state as long as possible.
Before Thomas, many others worked in this direction, but when he did it wholeheartedly joined the effort. He worked with filaments of many different species: platinum, which he rejected as expensive, coal, soot, and other materials, and even sent employees to Japan, South America, and Sumatra to collect different varieties of vegetable fibers. Before choosing the material they deemed advisable. The first of his lamps was ready on October 21, 1879. It was a light bulb filament carbonized bamboo, which exceeded forty hours of continuous operation. The news of fact made plummeting shares of gas lighting companies. In later years, Edison took to improve his bulb and was doing this activity that led to the unique discoveries that belong to a strictly scientific area. Occurred in 1883, while trying to figure out why his incandescent lamp got blackened with use.
In the course of these investigations, the prolific inventor witnessed the manifestation of a curious phenomenon: the lamp emitted a bluish glow when it was subject to certain conditions of vacuum and the application of certain voltages. Edison found that such light emission was caused by the unexplained presence of an electric current established between the two rods that held the lamp filament and used this phenomenon, which received its name to design an electricity meter for which a patent registered in 1886. He could have given here the transition from electrical to electronics. He could not, however, gauge the importance of the discovery of his method, closer to the “trial and error than scientific deduction, but could not. It was not until the British engineer John A. Fleming, a solid scientific technologist would step in 1897 when he succeeded, after slight modifications to transform the Edison electric meter in the vacuum tube, the first in a long series of electrical devices that gave rise to a new technological era.
More than a thousand inventions
In 1886, two years after his wife died, Thomas married Mina Miller, a Paula-Antonio of strong character, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist of Akron, Ohio, whose influence on her eccentric husband noted, because he succeeded in making a sociable person. The couple had three children, one of whom, Charles, was devoted to politics, becoming governor of New Jersey. Next year, Edison moved his laboratory to Menlo Park, then a small, West Orange, New Jersey. Set up a large technology center, the Edison Laboratory (now a national monument), around which raised numerous workshops, which provided jobs to over five thousand people. The electricity continued to absorb most of their time since it dealt with all aspects of production and distribution.
Not having much luck, however, he made a serious mistake by insisting that the current system where compelling reasons exist for alternating current. Edison was also interested in many other industries: the production of cement and chemical materials, the electromagnetic separation of iron, and the manufacture of automotive batteries and accumulators were some of their favorites. His last great invention was the Kinetograph, patent registered in 1891. It was a rudimentary film camera that included, however, an ingenious mechanism to ensure the intermittent movement of the film.
In 1894 Edison Kinetoscope Parlor opened on Broadway, New York, where one viewer to sit in front of a peephole in a log cabin to see the film, which was illuminated from behind by an electric lamp. Although the Kinetoscope Parlor immediately aroused attention as a fairground attraction, Edison did not believe it was ever important to find a projection system for larger audiences, which prevented him from walking the last mile to the cinema of the Lumiere brothers. The activity of this great inventor was extended beyond eighty years of age, completing the list of technological achievements to a total of 1,093 patents in his lifetime came to register. Atherosclerosis, however, was undermining the health of this troubled old man, whose death took place on October 18, 1931, in West Orange, New Jersey.
Thomas Edison Chronology
|1847||Born in Milan, Ohio (USA)|
|1859||Began work as a newsboy on the railroad|
|1868||Installs in Boston. Recorded his first patent, an electric vote counter, which was offered to Congress but was rejected|
|1869||Settled in New York. Invented for the Western Union Edison Universal Stock Printer Printer|
|1876||Created the first research laboratory in Menlo Park|
|1877||Invents the phonograph|
|1879||Developed the first practical filament lamp|
|1883||Discover the physical effect that bears his name|
|1885||Create the Edison Laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey|
|1894||Parlor Kinotoscope invented a rudimentary machine cinema|
|1931||He died in West Orange, New Jersey (USA)|
Thomas Edison Inventions
The American Thomas Alva Edison was one of the inventors who contributed most to changing the life of modern man. The more than patented inventions dramatically transformed the customs and habits of industrialized societies. Similarly, Edison was a key figure in the consolidation of new technological research. A restless and indefatigable researcher, he worked in such diverse fields as optics, acoustics, and electricity. Its main virtue was the ability to apply technical knowledge to the world of consumption, which allowed their disenosadquiriesen great importance in people’s lives.
The filament lamp is perhaps the most celebrated invention gave Edison. Its mass production allowed a considerably cheaper to obtain light so that even people with scarce economic resources began to enjoy the ability to light homes. Similarly, electric lighting radically transformed the image of modern cities, which could be seen lighting up the last corner. The phonograph, a device allowing recording and playing any sound, was another notable invention of Edison. This device was the forerunner of the phonograph and turntable systems used throughout the twentieth century for music. In fact, analog playback systems sound like those mentioned above, which were based on the original invention of Edison, were used throughout the world until the widespread use of digital systems in the eighties. Since 1889, Edison was increasingly interested in cinematographers. And for years he tried, with varying success, the projection of a rapid succession of images on a screen.
Edison used a film strip of Eastman type, replacing the rigid piece of glass for a classic, flexible film applied on the edges of perforations that allowed the hiciesen several gears rotate at sufficient speed to make noticeable discontinuities between pictures. Also established an experimental sound film in which the image was coordinated with the sound of a phonograph record.
Later in 1912, the monthly magazine published in Scientific American a description of the technique Kinemacolor; the invention allow a moving picture with natural colors photographically reproduced. But as important as his inventions was the attitude that Edison took off the technological invention. He represented a new generation of researchers who moved to the old mechanical inventors of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This new attitude toward technical invention led Edison to create in 1876, the first industrial research laboratory, the precursor of modern technology testing centers, organized around teams of scientists, specialists tecnicosy.
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