What was Thomas Edison’s contribution to the world?

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THOMAS Edison acquired a whopping 1,093 US patents, as well as around 1,200 in other countries.

He possessed a particular gift for knowing how to make inventions practically useful, and sometimes commercially successful, and he left a massive footprint on the world.

Thomas Edison’s inventions cover a huge range of products, from children’s toys to electrical power systems, and from storing fruit to recording and playing back sound.

He applied for his first patent when he was 21 and the last one was achieved some 63 years later – two years after he died.

He even earned the nickname The Wizard of Menlo Park – the area of New Jersey, US, where he built his laboratories – because of all his inventions, which included…

The phonograph was the first invention that enabled people to record sound and hear it back – and was the invention that earned Edison his wizard title.

Edison’s recording device used a stylus to mark grooves on a cylinder wrapped in wax paper, and then transmitted the sounds to a vibrating diaphragm.

Interestingly, quantity soon won out over quality, as discs rapidly became more popular than cylinders.

The sound quality of the cylinders was better than that of early discs – but discs could store four minutes of sound, compared to two minutes on Edison’s cylinders.

This invention was combined with Alexander Graham Bell’s then newly-invented telephone, to create a truly indispensable gadget.

Edison’s invention used a button of carbon that would change resistance depending on the pressure of sound waves.

This allowed voice signals to be converted into higher voltages, which in turn allowed the signal to be sent over a longer distance.

Edison’s carbon microphone was quickly adopted by Bell to improve his telephone system.

Edison invented a system which raised telegraph output from 120 to 1,000 words per minute.

He created a machine which automatically printed telegraph messages from marks made with a metal stylus on chemically treated paper or cardboard.

These messages could then be transmitted to several stations without needing an operator – thereby saving labour.

Edison and British inventor Joseph Swan famously fought for the patent of the first commercially successful light bulb in 1879.

Edison was granted the patent, and his work did extend the lifespan of early light bulbs, but Swan and other inventors have been recognised since.

They joined forces shortly after and formed Edison-Swan – probably the largest light bulb manufacturing company.

Edison’s work on the glass vacuum tube used for the light bulb gave him the idea for a separate invention of a method to preserve fruit and vegetables in a vacuum jar.

Direct current (DC) is an electrical current which flows consistently in one… Brinkwire Brief News.

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