How Many Things Did Edison Invent?
Tom, the curious boy grew into Thomas Edison, the curious man. He became one of the most prolific (productive) American inventors of the nineteenth century. During the eighty-four years of his life, Edison patented 1,093 inventions.
Many of Edison’s inventions were improvements on existing things, such as the electric light bulb.
Edison’s favorite invention was the phonograph. Edison’s phonograph was the first machine that could capture and replicate sound. So, Edison could proudly claim ownership to this machine, which he invented in 1877. .
The phonograph shown in the photo used a tinfoil cylinder to capture sound. The tinfoil was later replaced with wax.
Note: Tinfoil looks like aluminum foil.
Many of Edison’s inventions were improvement of things, such as the telegraph (a device used to send a code of electrical signals). Edison’s improved telegraph could transmit one thousand words a minute as compared to the earlier models, which had a top speed of forty five words a minute.
Most of Edison’s inventions relate more to physics than other sciences. I’ve not found evidence that Edison was seeking to uncover more about why things work, instead his interest seems to focus on improving or inventing new things.
The following comment was written by Nicola Tesla, a physicists and inventor. Note that Tesla and Edison were not friends. According to Tesla, Edison had not treated him fairly when Tesla worked for Edison. Even so, many of the Tesla’s commits describe commits made by others. For example, when Edison was working on an invention he was known to spend days in his laboratory, thus he did not eat properly, and his personal hygiene may not have been tops on his list. So, peel back some of Tesla’s bitterness toward Edison and you will discover some of Edison’s idiosyncrasies–his quirkiness- his eccentric behavior as well as a peek into his own scientific method.
“He had no hobby, cared for no sort of amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene. […] His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90% of the labour. But he had a veritable contempt for book learning and mathematical knowledge, trusting himself entirely to his inventor’s instinct and practical American sense.“
|Jancie VanCleave’s Science Through the Ages|