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Friday, May 19, 2017

Thomas Edison and inventions


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Minivalley

Photo license: CC BY-SA 3.0


Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was a famous inventor best known for developing the phonograph, a longer lasting light bulb and many other things. Edison had 1,093 patents in the United States. Physicist Nikolai Tesla said,


"If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search... I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per" (Quoted in The New York Times, 1931)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Edison.


How to make an invention


"I find out what the world needs. Then, I go ahead and invent it." (Quoted in American Greats by Wilson and Marcus)


"I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently likely to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory." (Quoted in Harper's magazine, 1890)


"I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come indirectly through accident, except the phonograph. No, when I have, fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes." (Quoted in A Photographic Talk with Edison by Theodore Dreiser)


"Through all the years of experimenting and research, I never once made a discovery. I start where the last man left off... All my work was deductive, and the results I achieved were those of invention pure and simple." (Quoted in Makers of the Modern World by Louis Untermeyer)


"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." (Quoted in in Behavior-Based Robotics by Ronald C. Arkin)