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In his “spare time” the master turned out some strange contraptions On the occasion of Thomas A. Edison’s 100th birthday anniversary, Science Illustrated has delved among his 1,097 patents, comes up with some “sleepers.” .Between the epic discoveries leading to modern lighting, talkies, and phonograph, he found time to master-mind an elaborate improvement on the “Mama” doll; a medicine for neuralgic pains; a simplified stock ticker. He anticipated such modernities as prefabricated houses, domestic sources for rubber, and helicopters; fathered such minor miracles as gummed tape, waxed paper, and an electric cigar lighter.

Among his far-flung activities was a flyer in iron mining, for which he devised giant rollers to pulverize ore-bearing boulders as heavy as six tons and then extract ore by magnetic separation. And he revolutionized the cement business with a system of grinding cement rock to unprecedented fineness and with a foolproof method of mixing. His invention of fire alarms and miners’ safety lamps made him a saver as well as an improver of life.

  1. blueferretdog says: August 27, 20104:21 pm

    The Edison doll was put into production,my wife has one.

  2. Firebrand38 says: August 27, 20104:25 pm

    Pretty amazing too http://www.edisontinfoi…

  3. mark says: August 28, 20106:31 am

    I’m amazed at the use of “boner” for mistake in a mainstream magazine. The connotations must have changed.

  4. sarge says: August 28, 20108:43 am

    Mark, the term was a reference to a ‘bone-headed mistake.’ and had no connection to the term that you have in mind. Language mutates and terms change.

  5. Arglebarglefarglegleep says: September 1, 20102:04 pm

    Edison built some concrete houses which still exist today. They weren’t popular because the interior walls were concrete which didn’t take nails easily and needed massive labor to change interior layout – among other problems with them.

  6. Alan B. Barley says: November 19, 201012:44 pm

    Our picture of Edison as the hyper-prolific inventor is largely due to the legal standing of corporations at that time. Only towards the end of Edison’s productive life could a patent be filed in the name of a corporation, and not require that the patent be granted to a specific named inventor[s].
    The “personhood” of a corporation was not recognized untill the late 1890’s. So, many of the patents credited to “Thomas Edison”, more correctly should read, “Edison Laboratories Inc.” If you went to work for Edision you assigned all your inventions to “Thomas Edison”. Just as today, as an employee, all your creative works belong to the your employer [a corporation].

    in the 20th Century, AT&T vigoroursly advertised with the slogan “Invented by Bell Laboratories”. To promote the idea of the “Bell System” being greater than any individual scientist.

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