Tag Archives | Thomas Edison

Glenn Beck Developing ‘Edison vs. Tesla’ Movie

Nikola TeslaThe story of Thomas Edison taking all the glory while creative genius Nikola Tesla died alone and in poverty in the New Yorker Hotel room that was his final home certainly seems like a great premise for a movie, but can Glenn Beck be trusted to do it justice? Gizmodo gushes excitedly at the prospect:

Former Fox News TV personality Glenn Beck is really sick of talking about politics. So what rustles his jimmies these days? The mythologized feud between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Beck even has a movie in production about Edison that he hopes will “expose the truth” about this “bad man.”

From National Review:

Another film will “expose the truth” about Thomas Edison, a villain Beck thinks has gotten a break from historians and whose real story demonstrates our flawed understanding of the 20th century. Though remembered as “this nice, kind of, good old Thomas,” Beck explains, “he was really a bad man who was electrocuting animals.” Edison,”was absolutely on the wrong end, and luckily for him the story ended happily with his name being taken off his own company and given to GE,” he says.

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Everything You Think You Know About Thomas Edison Might Be Wrong

edison-tesla_13

Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison

Was anything we learned in school true? Next it will be revealed that Benjamin Franklin never flew a kite with a key attached to the string in a storm.

via Business Insider

Thomas Edison did not try 10,000 times before inventing the light bulb, nor did he labor in a dusty workshop by himself.

That’s according to David Burkus, author of “The Myths of Creativity,” who says America’s favorite innovation story may have been the result of a tremendous publicity push.

In his book, Burkus debunks the popular tale of Edison and what he calls the “lone creator myth.” His claim? That we love the story of the solo-genius, the starving artist, the one brilliant man against the world — even if it’s not always true.

In the case of Edison, Burkus argues that the famous creator didn’t invent the light bulb so much as perfect it, with the muscle of a massive publicity machine behind him.

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By Popular Demand: The Cure For What Ails You

tnegovan-gregmartin-01A little over a decade ago, disinformation published its first book, the now out of print anthology You Are Being Lied To (superseded by You Are STILL Being Lied To). We didn’t really know much about publishing books at the time, so when the book industry’s biggest annual trade show in Chicago came around, we needed help to stand out from the crowd. Enter Thomas Negovan, who was, and is our standard bearer in Chicago. Proprietor of the amazing art gallery Century Guild, Tom “found the others” for us.

A Renaissance man, Tom is also an accomplished musician who has done something truly unusual and, to my mind so compelling, that if you are anywhere near Los Angeles this week, you should go to the most unique of record release parties. I asked Tom to explain for disinformation:

It’s Sunday night, I’m up in Topanga in my friend Ysanne’s cabin, and as I experience no internet, no cell phone, and a space that is one part The Hobbit and one part Deadwood I’m hard pressed to imagine a better place to be sleeping before my record release on Wednesday.

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Christmas Gift In the 1890s: Edison’s Talking “Monster” Doll

Photo: Robin & Jean Rolfs

Photo: Robin & Jean Rolfs

Via GE Reports:

While we may never know what the ‘must have’ Christmas gift was in 1890, we do know that it most assuredly wasn’t Thomas Edison’s talking doll.

Using miniature phonographs embedded inside, these “talking” baby dolls were toy manufacturers’ first attempt at using sound technology in toys. They marked a collaboration between Edison and William Jacques and Lowell Briggs, who worked to miniaturize the phonograph starting in 1878.

Unfortunately, production delays, poor recording technology, high production costs, and damages during distribution all combined to create toys that were a complete disaster, terrifying children and costing their parents nearly a month’s pay.

Edison would later refer to the dolls as his “little monsters.” The recording below is of “Little Jack Horner” and comes from one of the actual dolls, courtesy of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park.

[Continues with sound clip of recording at GE Reports]

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Thomas Edison’s Concrete Houses

Thomas Edison had notoriously bad judgment about the viability of his many inventions. He once embarked on an expensive scheme to construct entire houses, including furniture, out of cast concrete. This via IEEE Global History Network:

Edison’s concrete housing effort began around 1908. Portland cement (which Edison did not invent) was coming into fashion as a construction material. Edison and his team worked on perfecting a formula for mixing concrete (a mixture of cement and filler materials such as sand or gravel) and building re-usable steel molds to cast the walls of houses. By 1910, he had cast two experimental buildings — a gardener’s cottage and a garage — at his New Jersey mansion Glenmont. He announced in the press that he did not intend to profit from the venture, but would instead give away the patented information to qualified builders.

The publicity generated by this announcement attracted the attention of philanthropist Henry Phipps who proposed using the concrete houses to solve New York City’s housing problems.

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Long-Dead Inventor Nikola Tesla Is Electrifying Hip Techies

Nikola TeslaDaniel Michaels reports on some long overdue mainstream recognition of the genius of Nikola Tesla, for the Wall Street Journal:

Decades after he died penniless, Nikola Tesla is elbowing aside his old adversary Thomas Edison in the pantheon of geek gods.

When California engineers wanted to brand their new $100,000 electric sports car, one name stood out: Tesla. When circuit designers at microchip producer Nvidia Corp. in 2007 launched a new line of advanced processors, they called them Tesla. And when videogame writers at Capcom Entertainment in Silicon Valley needed a character who could understand alien spaceships for their new Dark Void saga, they found him in Nikola Tesla.

Tesla was a scientist and inventor who achieved fame and fortune in the 1880s for figuring out how to make alternating current work on a grand scale, electrifying the world. He created the first major hydroelectric dam, at Niagara Falls. He thrilled packed theaters with presentations in which he ran high voltage through his body to illuminate a fluorescent light in his hand.

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