读书笔记:Thomas Edison (3)

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Thomas Edison: A Captivating Guide to the Life of a Genius Inventor (3)

Edison had a pragmatic streak that served him well.

Eventually, film required better projector technology to be commercially successful, and Edison withdrew from the industry as other inventors made headway. The best known of these was Edwin S. Porter and his 1903 film The Great Train Robbery.

Edison, never one to overlook an opportunity, was also a keen early-adopter of automobiles.

Men such as George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla would challenge Edison’s position as the most significant inventor of all time, and change the nature of how humans live.

Born in 1856 in Croatia, Tesla was a talented engineer and physicist who impressed the scientific world with his invention of the electromagnetic induction motor.

Although Tesla possessed mathematical knowledge, and had developed many other improvements to electrical transmission and devices, Edison was dismissive of Tesla’s conclusion.

It wasn’t what Edison wanted to hear, and he stiffed Tesla on the deal, paying him a mere fraction of what he’d been promised.

Tesla was renowned for demonstrating his electric coils by summoning what appeared to the 19th-century audience as room-sized lightening!

Thomas’ second wife was the daughter of a successful, paradigm-shifting inventor. Born to Lewis Miller and his wife Mary, young Mina (one of 11 children) was groomed to respect ingenuity and education, qualities that served Edison well when the time came to ask for Mina’s hand in marriage.

Miller also believed both public and church-lead education systems were flawed and needed reform.

The New York Times interviewed Edison that year, and he explained, “Science is going to make war a terrible thing – too terrible to contemplate. Pretty soon we can be mowing down men by the thousands or even millions almost by pressing a button.”

The New York Times reported Edison was calling for a massive research effort to be undertaken. His vision would include military, civil and political participation, and its goal would be to “take advantage of the knowledge gained through this research work and quickly manufacture in large quantities the most efficient and very latest instruments of warfare.”

Working within the tightly laced structures of the American naval hierarchy would prove a significant challenge for freewheeling Edison, but his contribution was notable.

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