Inventions That Changed The World: Thomas Edison’s Top 10

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Somanjana Chowdhury

27 Mar,2016

When we see that an electric bulb is lightening a room, we feel proud that we got Thomas Alva Edison who gave us this wonderful invention. However, that’s not it. If we remember him only because of this one device, then we are totally wrong. Apart from the electric bulb, in our daily lives, we use or see some machines that are actually invented by Edison but we hardly knew about it. So let’s look at some of his wonder creations.

  1.     The Spirit Phone

It was just the end of World War II and Edison came up with the phone that can connect the living ones to the dead ones. The newspapers and magazines were filled with this news only. Though Edison never came up with such phone and no one knows how to use it even but no one could actually doubt the seriousness of Edison about the idea.

  1.      Phonograph Dolls

It is a children's toy doll developed by the Edison Phonograph Toy Manufacturing Company introduced in 1890. The original doll was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877. The 22-inch doll featured a removable phonograph that played a single nursery rhyme. Although it had spent several years in experimentation and development, the Edison Talking Doll was a sales failure and was only marketed for a few short weeks in early 1890. You had to crank a handle each time for it to play. Also, the ring-shaped wax records wore out quickly and were prone to warping and cracking.

  1.       Concrete Furniture

Concrete Furniture was the solution for the problem of spending a big amount of money on wooden furniture. According to him, people could obtain a house full of concrete furniture that would endure for eternity. All these concrete furnitures were made with air-impregnated foam to keep the weight at only one-and-a-half times that of wooden furniture.

  1.       Concrete House

Edison wanted to prove that houses can be built inexpensively on a mass scale. Concrete again was a solution for him. Edison's plan was to pouring the concrete into large, wooden molds the size and shape of a house, letting it cure and then removing the framework to get a house made of concrete.

  1.       Alkaline Battery for Electric Cars

He always believed that electricity could run a car. So, in 1899, he started working on and developing an alkaline storage battery that would power the car. Finally, in 1900, about 28 percent of the more than 4,000 cars produced in America did run on electricity. Storage batteries became his most profitable invention and were used in miners' headlamps, railroad signals and marine buoys. His friend Henry Ford also used Edison's batteries in his Model Ts.

  1.       Method of Preserving Fruit

In 1881, Edison invented the method of preserving fruits, vegetables and other organic substances in a glass vessel. After putting the items to be preserved, the air in the vessel was sucked from it with an air pump. The vessel tube was sealed with another piece of glass.

  1.       The Electric Power Meter

Running electrical services in the businesses and residences was not easy. There was a need to measure a number of electricity people are using so that they can be charged accordingly. Edison solved this problem by patenting the Webermeter in 1881. The Webermeter contained two or four electrolytic cells with zinc at both electrodes and a zinc sulfate solution. The zinc transferred from one electrode to the other at a set rate as electricity was used.

  1.       Magnetic Ore-separator

His idea was to use a magnet in separating iron ore from other unusable ores. During 1880, in his laboratory, the team started developing this invention. He acquired rights to 145 abandoned mines and set up a pilot project at the Ogden mine in New Jersey. Edison poured money into the project. At that time, iron ore prices had risen to unprecedented heights.

  1.       Pneumatic Stencil Pen

It is an electric pen that Edison patented in 1876, used a rod tipped with a steel needle to perforate paper for printing purposes. It's important on its own as one of the first devices that could efficiently copy documents. In 1891, tattoo artist Samuel O'Reilly was awarded the first patent for a tattoo machine a device allegedly based on Edison's stencil pen.

  1.   Electrographic Vote-recorder

Edison was only 22 when he received his first patent for this machine. In Edison's vote-recorder, a voting device was connected to the clerk's desk. At the desk, the names of the legislators were embedded in metal type in two columns – ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ Legislators would move a switch on the device to point to either ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ sending an electric current to the device at the clerk's desk. After voting was completed, the clerk would place a chemically treated piece of paper on top of the metal type and run a metal roller over it. The current would cause the chemicals in the paper to dissolve on the side for which the vote should be recorded. ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ wheels kept track of the vote totals and tabulated the results.

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Somanjana Chowdhury

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