Thomas Alva Edison was one of the most prolific and contributive entrepreneurs in the American history. He invented a multitude of useful items, such as the light bulb and phonograph etc. Without a light bulb at night, we wouldn’t be able to see. Thomas’s innovative ideas led us to live a comfortable life, but there were many failures when he was experimenting. Instead of giving up, he changed new strategy of making his inventions to work.
Thomas Edison was most well-known for his invention of light bulb. At that time, light bulb was an often unreliable because it couldn’t last for a long time. In addition, the light bulb was expensive and people couldn’t afford it. Later, there was a race between twenty different inventors. Throughout the intense competition among the scientists, Edison was able to achieve a light bulb that could last for hours (Edison Innovation Foundation).
Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t “invent” the lightbulb, but rather he improved upon a 50-year-old idea. In 1879, using lower current electricity, a small carbonized filament, and an improved vacuum inside the globe, he was
able to produce a reliable, long-lasting source of light. The idea of
electric lighting was not new, and a number of people had worked on, and even developed forms of electric lighting. Yet to that time, nothing had been developed that was remotely practical for home use (The Inventions of Thomas Edison 1).
Switching on a light bulb was a very simple thing to do, but making a light bulb was very difficult. Edison tried hundreds of times to make a light bulb to work. Even though failures kept happening, Thomas was able to overcome the setbacks. “The basic problem seemed to be to keep the burner, or bulb, from being consumed by preventing it from overheating. Edison thought he would be able to solve this by fashioning a microtasimeter-like device to control the current.”
He boldly announced that he would invent a safe, mild and inexpensive electric light that would replace the gaslight” (Thomas Alva Edison 1).
“Before Edison could make his millions, every one of these elements had to be invented and then, through careful trial and error, developed into practical, reproducible components. The first public demonstration of the Thomas Edison’s incandescent lighting system was in December 1879, when the Menlo Park laboratory complex was electrically lighted. Edison spent the next several years creating the electric industry.
The modern electric utility industry began in the 1880s. It evolved from gas and electric carbon-arc commercial and street lighting systems. On September 4, 1882, the first commercial power station, located on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan, went into operation providing light and electricity power to customers in a one square mile area; the electric age had begun. Thomas Edison’s Pearl Street electricity generating station introduced four key elements of a modern electric utility system. It featured reliable central generation, efficient distribution, a successful end use (in 1882, the light bulb), and a competitive price.
A model of efficiency for its time, Pearl Street used one-third the fuel of its predecessors, burning about 10 pounds of coal per kilowatt hour, a “heat rate” equivalent of about 138,000 Btu per kilowatt hour. Initially the Pearl Street utility served 59 customers for about 24 cents per kilowatt hour. In the late 1880s, power demand for electric motors brought the industry from mainly nighttime lighting to 24-hour service and dramatically raised electricity demand for transportation and industry needs. By the end of the 1880s, small central stations dotted many U.S. cities; each was limited to a few blocks area because of transmission inefficiencies of direct current (dc).
The success of his electric light brought Thomas Edison to new heights of fame and wealth, as electricity spread around the world. His various electric companies continued to grow until in 1889 they were brought together to form Edison General Electric. Despite the use of Edison in the company title however, he never controlled this company.
The tremendous amount of capital needed to develop the incandescent lighting industry had necessitated the involvement of investment bankers such as J.P. Morgan. When Edison General Electric merged with its leading competitor Thompson-Houston in 1892, Edison was dropped from the name, and the company became simply General Electric (The Invention of Thomas Edison 1).”
In conclusion, Thomas Edison was a guy who was renowned for his invention and how a great thinker he was. He played an important role in the history of human. He started the age of inventions and may have inspired more people to come up with cool ideas like light bulb. I personally think he was a brilliant person, who impressed me a lot.
“Thomas Edison.” _The Free Encyclopedia._ Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 5 Nov 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison.
“The Inventions of Thomas Edison.” _History of Phonograph – Lightbulb – Motion Pictures_. Web. 5 Nov 2013.
“The Life of Thomas A. Edison.” Web. 5 Nov 2013.
“Thomas Edison. biography.” bio.True Story. Web. 5 Nov 2013 http://www.biography.com/people/thomas-edison-9284349
“Thomas Alva Edison Biography.” _The Thomas Edison Papers._ Web. http://edison.rutgers.edu/biogrphy.htm
“Thomas Alva Edison.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 5 Nov 2013.