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Happy Birthday, Edison’s Light Bulb!

Hey, is that a personified version of Thomas Edison’s commercialized incandescent lamp?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Edison’s commercialized tungsten incandescent lamp!

Technically, Edison’s patent was filed the following January 27 of 1880, but today in 1879 Edison got 13 hours and 32 minutes out of his lamp’s tests and experiments.  Regardless of Edison’s politics and behavior, you have to give it to him that he put the drive into inventing something that has revolutionized our lives.  One of my favorite quotes ever is Edison’s quote about his development of the incandescent lamp.  When a reporter asked Edison about the failures in experimentation in the process of inventing the lamp, he said “No!  I didn’t fail.  I found 1000 ways to not invent an incandescent light bulb.

It’s rumored that Edison’s incandescent lamp cost about $852,000 in today’s market to develop – about $40,000 in the late 1870’s.

I also found this great list of important relevant dates (years) in the timeline of the incandescent lamp!

1850:  Joseph W. Swan began working on a light bulb using carbonized paper filaments
1860:  Swan obtained a UK patent covering a partial vacuum, carbon filament incandescent lamp
1877:  Edward Weston forms Weston Dynamo Machine Company, in Newark, New Jersey.
1878:  Thomas Edison founded the Edison Electric Light Company
1878:  Hiram Maxim founded the United States Electric Lighting Company
1878:  205,144 William Sawyer and Albon Man 6/18 for Improvements in Electric Lamps
1878:  Swan receives a UK patent for an improved incandescent lamp in a vacuum tube
1879:  Swan began installing light bulbs in homes and landmarks in England.
1880:  223,898 Thomas Edison 1/27 for Electric Lamp and Manufacturing Process
1880:  230,309 Hiram Maxim 7/20 for Process of Manufacturing Carbon Conductors
1880:  230,310 Hiram Maxim 7/20 for Electrical Lamp
1880:  230,953 Hiram Maxim 7/20 for Electrical Lamp
1880:  233,445 Joseph Swan 10/19 for Electric Lamp
1880:  234,345 Joseph Swan 11/9 for Electric Lamp
1880:  Weston Dynamo Machine Company renamed Weston Electric Lighting Company
1880:  Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston form American Electric Company
1880:  Charles F. Brush forms the Brush Electric Company
1881:  Joseph W. Swan founded the Swan Electric Light Company
1881:  237,198 Hiram Maxim 2/1 for Electrical Lamp assigned to U.S. Electric Lighting Company
1881:  238,868 Thomas Edison 3/15 for Manufacture of Carbons for Incandescent Lamps
1881:  247,097 Joseph Nichols and Lewis Latimer 9/13 for Electric Lamp
1881:  251, 540 Thomas Edison 12/27 for Bamboo Carbons Filament for Incandescent Lamps
1882:  252,386 Lewis Latimer 1/17 for Process of Manufacturing Carbons assigned to U.S. E. L. Co.
1882:  Edison’s UK operation merged with Swan to form the Edison & Swan United Co. or “Edi-swan”
1882:  Joesph Swan sold his United States patent rights to the Brush Electric Company
1883:  American Electric Company renamed Thomson-Houston Electric Company
1884:  Sawyer & Man Electric Co formed by Albon Man a year after William Edward Sawyer death
1886:  George Westinghouse formed the Westinghouse Electric Company
1886:  The National Carbon Co. was founded by the then Brush Electric Co. executive W. H. Lawrence
1888:  United States Electric Lighting Co. was purchased by Westinghouse Electric Company
1886:  Sawyer & Man Electric Co. was purchased by Thomson-Houston Electric Company
1889:  Brush Electric Company merged into the Thomson-Houston Electric Company
1889:  Edison Electric Light Company consolidated and renamed Edison General Electric Company.
1890:  Edison, Thomson-Houston, and Westinghouse, the “Big 3” of the American lighting industry.
1892:  Edison Electric Light Co. and Thomson-Houston Electric Co. created General Electric Co.

Ah, the lamp.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Edison’s commercialized incandescent lamp!  Isn’t it funny that I’m flying out to Las Vegas for LDI today of all days?

Thanks Wired, Distributed Energy, Idea Finder, and Wikipedia!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison!

Who’s that dude with Tommy Edison there?  Wait, is that Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison?  Hey, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison!

Miller Hutchison (born late August 6, 1876, died February 16, 1944) was an inventor for Edison at the Menlo Park lab, one of dozens of people that Edison called his “muckers.”  What a crappy name for associates, right?  So, as you would think from the name, the “muckers” were the people that cleaned the horse stalls, toilets, and other things that have to do with muck, right?

No. Edison’s muckers were the geniuses he hired to realize his ideas.  He paid them next to nothing, and took all the credit for their work.  We’re talking about people like William Kennedy Dickson, Francis Robbins Upton, Arthur E. Kennelly, and Nikola Tesla – real major players, kings of science and industrial processes.  Edison treated these people like Wal-Mart workers, but they were the ones who made our technology what it evolved into today.  But Edison played on the desire of these genius inventors to get them to work so cheap – they could invent in the Menlo Park lab, with nearly any supply imaginable and next to no limitations.  They made pitiful wages for their work, but they loved their jobs.  Kinda like us lighting folk!

Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison was quite the inventor and “mucker,” and quite the Edison company man, too.  Hutchison was responsible for several aspects of Edison’s business, including marketing Edison batteries to the Secretary of the Navy at that time.  In essence, were it not for Dr. Hutchison’s advertising prowess, submarine development might not be where it is today!  The story of Hutchison’s pre-Edison days is also kind of awesome:  Miller Hutchison was a member of the United States Light House Brigade (which is totally new to me but WHAT A COOL NAME), and helped lay submarine cables in the Gulf of Mexico during the Spanish-American War.

Regardless of where I put the rest of Miller Reese Hutchison’s accomplishments and inventions, one of the cooler ones (and not light-related) is the Klaxon horn – you know, the aaWOOOOOga sound, often found on ships and submarines, and typically in movies when the poo is about to intersect with the fan?  Yeah, Hutchison invented that.  Also, maybe in a tinge of irony, Hutchison also invented the hearing aid (which he called the Acousticon).  The St. Louis Dispatch published a memorial article many years after his death that semi-accused him of creating the Klaxon horn to increase the number of candidates that would need his hearing aid.

Cool.  Happy Birthday, Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison!  If you weren’t dead, I’d totally buy you a Shiner Bock and ask you about batteries.

Thanks Wikipedia, About (twice!), Wapedia, FloraBerlin, and BPI!

Happy Birthday, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson!

What the fu-IS THAT WILLIAM KENNEDY LAURIE DICKSON?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson!

This guy William Kennedy Laurie Dickson (what a long name, dude!) is an important guy in our history – one of the many underappreciated peeps that I keep digging up and trying to give my little bit of credit on their birthdays.  Dickson was someone that got hired by Thomas Edison when he realized how talented the man was, and Billy-Boy here was set to working for Edison’s many business ventures.

It’s funny – the more I read into the detailed history of Thomas Alva Edison, the more I am starting not to like him very much.  It’s okay though, I can appreciate the man’s work and brain without liking him very much!

What William’s part in the Edison legacy was has to do with the development of something called a Kinetoscope.  Ever heard of the Kinetoscope?

It’s the first motion picture equipment!  Thomas Edison made the Kinetophone, which we’ve all seen or heard at one point in our lives, but a bit later he filed a patent for an idea he had about a device that would be “for the eye as the phonograph does for the ear.”  So after Edison got his Caveat, he hired William Kennedy Dickson to make the dream a reality – a moving film machine that was powered by an Edison electric light.

Dickson has several credits to his name, including 35mm celluloid film (for the Kinetoscope), the Kinetograph (the first motion picture camera, which Edison took the patent on), the first movie studio (called the “Black Maria”) as well as being an avid photographer on his own.  My research suggests that, in the development of the Kinetoscope, Dickson tried and tried to coat the drum type design from Edison’s Kinetophone (assumed to be at the behest of Tommy Boy Edison himself), with much epic fail.  It was only when Dickson discovered a roll of celluloid film did the process of inventing the Kinetoscope become a reality.  That goes to show you that Edison wasn’t always right, which is why he hired people all over the place to fix his errors and take their credit.

The Kinetograph – a machine known for