Saturday, July 5, 2014

Edison's Workshop

Apparently there were dozens of earlier designs of the electric light bulb before Thomas Edison got involved, so he wasn't the one who actually invented it.  He was the guy who made it practical - he figured out how to create a filament that would glow but not burn in just a few seconds, had a plan for essentially an electrical system for small towns, etc.  He was obviously brilliant with over a thousand patents in his lifetime but one theme that I picked up on when visiting the modern day versions of his workshop and labs at Greenfield Village was how hard he worked.  Hard work is what he thinks (as the story is told today) made him successful, he never gave up.  The best example of that in my mind is the process of figuring out what made the best filament for the new light bulb - carbonized cotton thread glowing in a vacuum sealed glass bulb.  They tried all sorts of things before settling on what we now know as the basic components of the light bulb.

This photo is his lab shot from the corner during a tour and talk from one of the staff at Greenfield Village.  This sort of stuff is fascinating to me.  The walls are covered with bottles of various compounds and chemicals, the tubes and other things on the desk are in vacuum pumps used to remove air from a bulb.

Thomas Edison's Workshop, Greenfield Village

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