Thursday, March 7, 2013


High Tech Week continues with this picture of Thomas Edison in his lab. Edison is remembered by many as a man who helped usher in the present era of High Tech development. Actually I have never been a Thomas Edison fan, and believe his popularity is due to a great public relations department at General Electric, a company he started. During the early days of electricity, Edison sponsored a traveling road show in which stray animals would be brutally electrocuted on the public square to frighten people, and to discredit his competitors, a team made up of George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla. Edison even invented the electric chair, and gave them to prisons to execute criminals with Tesla's competing AC electricity. When the animals were killed, or someone was executed in the electric chair, Edison used a term he had coined, and said that they had been "Westinghoused". In the arena of technology, Edison was neither a brilliant nor creative mind. He simply solved problems with brute force trial and error, and bought himself time by viciously attacking his competitors. It is funny that Edison is remembered as the father of electricity, when in the end, we all use AC electricity, which was the type he fought so ruthlessly against. Nicola Tesla worked out all the math and technology needed to make practical AC motors, generators, and the means to practically transport electricity to people's homes.


  1. Tesla was a brilliant but eccentric man. He also invented the radio although Marconi gets the credit.

  2. oh wow! Tirades against the "greatest inventor" of all time. How will the readership respond?

    The NIH syndrome (not invented here) is as alive and well today as it was in Edison/Tesla time. Some folks put blinders on and refuse the better technology simply because they didn't think of it.

  3. Edison was very good at hiring great inventors and then taking credit for their inventions.
    He had promised Tesla a big bonus (something like $50,000.00) if he could solve a electrical problem, and when Tesla soved it and went to collect on the bonus, Edison said "Just kidding".

  4. I was always a Tesla Fan myself.

  5. pope george ringoMarch 7, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Edison basically took credit for an early silent film (I believe called "A Trip to the Moon") when in fact it was completly made by a French filmmaker (whose name escapes me). In other words, he was kind of a thief.

    1. It was directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston.

  6. Look at that gruff, grumpy old man. What a sour puss. One could easily photoshop that vessel in his right hand to a whiskey bottle. Then, this picture would look a little, normal.

  7. It is good to know that people are aware of the type of person Edison was. As has been stated, he he frequently stole the ideas of others and really rode roughshod over everybody. His desk had been sealed when he died, and about ten or fifteen years later, it was opened on the air. An announcer was going to read some of Edison's favorite jokes from a notebook lying on the desk, but they were all so crude he couldn't do it.

  8. Oh dear. I guess I was "indoctrinated" with the official story. Kind of sad to give up my image of him.

  9. wow. I had no idea Edison was such a jerk. Thanks for the enlightenment (pun intended).
    Now I want to go find a reliable bio on him....


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