Edison, His Life and Inventions
Thomas Alva Edison (1847 - 1931), also known as the "Wizard of Menlo Park" (NJ not CA) was the super-famous American inventor, scientist, and businessman who developed such amazing gadgets as the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a commercially feasible electric light bulb. While this book: Edison, His Life and Inventions by Dyer and Martin paints a pretty heroic picture of Edison, he wasn't without his faults. Because he started what today would be called a research lab, many of the innovations he gets credit for were collaborations with his employees. That said he does hold 1,093 U.S. patents in his name.
Also there is the classic battle between Nikola Tesla and Edison over whether alternating or direct current would dominate the future of electricity: it contained horrific scenes of Edison shocking cattle with Tesla's alternating current in an attempt to defame the new technology. This is not covered in the glorified biography by Dyer and Martin. Also Edison was a notoriously bad businessman. Though he was a true genius in the inventing world, his constant meddling and micromanaging delayed and derailed many projects from a commercial angle, which kept Edison from becoming as wealthy as he deserved. His son once said: "You should have been... a millionaire 10 times over if you knew how to handle your own achievements." Read this book to appreciate the Hero Inventor, but know there's more to the story.
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January 11, 2013
This is so amazingly awesome I love it