Snapshot 1882… Thomas Edison lights up Manhattan…

September 21, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the past two weeks we highlighted two events related to Thomas Edison. We’ll wrap things up this week with a day in 1882 when he literally Lit up the Town – or at least a portion of Manhattan, including the very building which was responsible for printing the related article shown (in part) below – The (NY) Times Building. Oddly enough, the New York Tribune also reported the event, but failed to shed light on The Times building have been in the illuminated zone. Enjoy.

Snapshot 1929… Just prior to the “crash” – Thomas Edison’s electric lamp…

September 14, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

When one thinks of late October, 1929, it’s hard not to focus on The Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. However, even just a few days prior to the world-altering event, people were going about their lives enjoying news of a huge new airport in Chicago which at the time featured the largest hanger in the world and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s electric light bulb. In regards to the pre-crash celebration of Edison, the October 21, 1929 issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune printed a set of related cartoons on the front page, one of which is related to this joyous event. I also (accidentally?) included the 3rd due to its timeliness. Enjoy.

Snapshot 1879… Thomas Edison – in defense of his electric light bulb…

September 7, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

The benefits of the light bulb are so interwoven throughout our lives, few would argue we take them for granted – until we notice their infamous ultra-luminescence just moments prior to our world becoming dark. However, back in 1879, Edison had received enough grief concerning his invention he would often feel compelled to provide a defense – some of which appeared in newspapers throughout the country. Such was the case with the December 27, 1879 issue of The Sun (New York). I appreciate the irony of a discussion regarding artificial light appearing in an issue of The Sun. Enjoy.

Snapshot 1927… A team effort through time…

November 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

When one considers the evolution of the computer, certain names come to mind: Charles Babbage and his son Henry, Alan Turing, John Atanasoff, John von Neumann, Henry Edward Roberts, Bob Bemmer, and James Gosling to name a few. However, like any grand endeavor, the number of unsung contributors is endless. Case in point: Have you ever heard of Vannevar Bush & Harold Locke Hazen? If you answered no, you are not alone. In fact, their names are absent on most lists of “pioneers in computing”. However, like thousands of others, their efforts were not insignificant. An article on the front page of a NEW YORK TIMES for October 21, 1927 places them front-and-center – albeit if only for a snapshot in time.

Snapshot 1692… Now you see it…

October 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Now you see it… Now you really see it. As one who cannot identify people’s faces if they are more than a few feet away, I really appreciate a good pair of glasses. It is hard to imagine a time when eye-glasses were a luxury, and even what was available was rather rudimentary. Thankfully, in the late 1600’s, an inventor developed a passion for optics, and made significant progress towards helping those with poor eyesight see well. The King and Queen of England took notice and he soon became their personal optician. Although quite rare, we came across an early advertisement for his services within an issue of The Athenian Mercury:

Snapshot 1858… A French flying machine…

August 13, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The National Intelligencer, dated August 7, 1858. It’s a shame those in the article below this snapshot didn’t have access to such an invention.

Snapshot 1885… Early flight (?)

June 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The Scientific American, New York, dated May 9, 1885. Thankfully, the wise saw, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” eventually proved to be true.

 

An internet idea, far ahead of its time?

February 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A fascinating article in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat” of September 15, 1878 seems to include a man’s idea which is far ahead of his time. Only problem is he didn’t have access to the technological developments the next 125 years would provide.

The column heads announce: “The Newsograph” “A Most Remarkable Application of Edison’s Last Patent” “The Device of a Park Philosopher for Bringing the Word’s News To Every Man’s Home”. The article details an idea of bringing “verbal” news into every person’s home by using Edison’s phonograph patent, thereby eliminating the need for a physical newspaper (see below). A curious concept in light of today’s internet technology. Go to the link above for the full article.

Before there was the Chunnel…

February 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-2-22-2016-English-Channel-BridgeFor over twenty years now the English Channel Tunnel, of the “Chunnel” has carried passengers, by train, between England and France. Although being the first such connection to come to fruition, it was not the first proposed.

Such a connection between England and the continent has been proposed since 1802 but none, obviously came to reality. The November 30, 1889 issue of “Scientific American reports on a bridge that was conceived as a viable effort, detailed in the article: “The Proposed Bridge Over The English Channel” and illustrated with a caption: “The Proposed Railway Bridge Between England and France.”

It is difficult to imagine the success of an elevated railway stretching over 30 miles, which might explain why this concept never became reality, but in hindsight it is interesting to perceive the vision of engineers over 100 years ago.

One of the first hybrids…

February 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-2-8-2016-early-carIn today’s world hybrid automobiles are commonly found on the road, a cross between internal combustion and electric engines. But our recent fascination with hybrids is nothing new.

In 1889 a proposal was submitted for what looks like an electric car/cable car hybrid, as detailed in the July 27, 1889 issue of “Scientific American. The electric vehicle would receive its power from the cable lines above it but the vehicle would negotiate the streets without the aid of tracks.

It is interesting how fascination with electric propulsion over 100 years ago has been renewed today as a means of powering automobiles.

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