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.

Are cigarettes bad for you? Thomas Edison & Philip Morris disagree…

September 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently found a rather interesting half-page notice in a Boston Evening Transcript, July 9, 1914, in which the Philip Morris company pushed back on an article from a few months prior in which Thomas Edison is quoted as saying he believes cigarettes to be bad for one’s health. I don’t know about you, but the ad comes of a bit self-serving. Of course time would prove Edison to have actually been more gracious than what truth would eventually reveal.

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.

They put it in print… a prophetic statement on “modern technology”…

September 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The New York Times” issue of March 25, 1878, has a fascinating editorial which is a reflection of how people were panicked by the lack of privacy over 100 years ago as they are Blog-9-14-2015-Thomas-Edisontoday.

The piece about Edison’s latest invention: “The Aerophone” goes on to detail how Edison’s work is destroying society. It begins: “Something ought to be done to Mr. Edison, and there is a growing conviction that it had better be done with a hemp rope. Mr. Edison has invented too many things, and…they are things of the most deleterious character. He has been addicted to electricity..” and railing on including mention that his phonograph is responsible for destroying privacy & making it impossible for anyone to talk to anyone any more, etc. The column-long editorial ends with an over-the-top fear for the fall of society, including: “…The result will be the complete disorganization of society. Men & women will flee from civilization & seek the silence of the forest relief from the roar of countless aerophones. Business, marriage, and all social amusements will be thrown aside…It may be too late to suppress the aerophone now, but at least there is time to visit upon the head of its inventor the just indignation of his fellow countrymen.”

A fascinating report in light of current-day concerns for lack of privacy.

The Traveler… Edison on board…

July 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-7-13-2015-EdisonToday I traveled to New York City by the way of The New York Times of July 13, 1915. There I found that “(Thomas) Edison Will Head Navy Test Board”. “…’The United States is far behind in these matters,’ said Mr. Edison. ‘I believe it is highly important for a board of civilians, made up of engineers from leading industries, to be formed for the purpose of looking into the feasibility of ideas developed by young men…'”

~The Traveler

Topsy the elephant… Thomas Edision vs. Nikola Tesla…

April 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Each day at Rare Newspapers brings new discoveries.  Today we found an item which is quite historic.  In 1903, the battle between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla (and Westinghouse) as to which form of electrical current (DC or AC) was to become the standard, was largely decided – with Edison’s DC current being the loser.  Not willing to give up without a fight, Edison attempted to win public and political support by stressing the greater danger of death by electrocution from contact with AC current.  In a highly publicized dramatic event, Edison organized and helped supervise the  filming and electrocution by AC current of Topsy, a Coney Island circus elephant which had recently killed three men.  While the execution was successful, and was overseen by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Edison was highly criticized for the event which did not accomplish his desired goal.  The report was found on the front page of the ALLEGHENY COUNTY REPORTER, Wellsville, New York, January 6, 1903.  I wonder if the S.P.C.A. would support such an action today?

The Traveler… who really invented “the talkies”?

August 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s journey, through The Christian Science Monitor dated August 26, 1910, took me on the train ride with Colonel Roosevelt as he was traveling across the states on his campaign tour. I found a segment a bit amusing… “At Erie the Colonel spoke to fully 5000 people. At Dunkirk a crowd nearly as large surrounded the train, and some one shouted, ‘Hello, Teddy!’ ‘I used to think it lowered my dignity to have them call me Teddy,’ the colonel said to his party in an undertone, ‘but do you know I am getting to like it now.'” A this point in time, one just somewhat “assumes” that he was always called Teddy.

While looking further into the issue, I found a one paragraph article with a headline “Mr. Edison Works On A New Device” and I just had to read it.  “Moving pictures that talk, reproducing not only the action, but the spoken words of actors shown on the canvas, promise to revolutionize the moving picture business and the announcement that a machine that will combine the perfected phonograph with the present motion picture camera is being constructed in the laboratory of Thomas A. Edison in West Orange, has created a stir among inventors.”

This made me wonder just when were “talkies” invented and who invented it? Was this ground-breaking news? I did some researching through google. In the late 1890’s, there were some sound to movies but each person had to wear a listening device — early headsets??  Mr. Edison is mentioned as to be working on creating a special machine to make the “talkies” but the first talk was not to be until 1927 with the release of The Jazz Singer.

~The Traveler

Does the phonograph have a future?

November 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Thomas-A-Edison-11_14_2009The piece shown is from “The Alaskan” newspaper of Sitka, dated March 20, 1886. It’s an interesting commentary on a problem with Thomas Edison perfecting his new photograph.

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