You probably knew that Thomas Edison gave us the first commercial light bulb, but did you also know he invented alkaline batteries and an electric train?As an inventor, scientist, and businessman, Edison developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world.
In addition to a longer-lasting light bulb, he also gave us a universal stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, electrical power, recorded music, motion pictures, and more.
Edison holds over a thousand U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
We pored over those patents and picked out the best of Edison’s 1,093 patents, in chronological order.
SIMPLIFIED TELEGRAPH: In an effort to improve the telegraph, Edison produced one that did not require someone to manually tap out the message at the receiving end.
FASTER ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH: Edison's electric telegraph improved the speed in which signals were sent and received compared to earlier models.
PERFORATING PEN: Powered by a foot pedal, the perforating pen punctured sheets of paper, creating stencils of handwritten documents and drawings.
PHONOGRAPH: The phonograph recorded and reproduced audible sounds using metallic foil on a cylinder.
CARBON TELEPHONE: In the history of the telephone, Edison is best known for the carbon transmitter that became the basis of telephone transmitters for more than a century.
PRACTICAL ELECTRIC LAMP: Edison's carbon filament light bulb was the first commercially viable electric light. Previous versions were not as durable and used expensive materials such as platinum.
ELECTRIC LIGHTING SYSTEM: Edison's system of electric lighting was designed to maintain the same amount of electricity throughout the device.
MOTOR THAT REGULATES ELECTRICITY: Edison designed a motor to help control the supply of electricity between devices such as lamps.
FRUIT PRESERVER: Edison designed a fruit preserver that sucked the oxygen out of the glass jars, producing vacuum-sealed jars of fruit.
INCANDESCENT CHANDELIER: Edison grouped several incandescent lamps together to create the chandelier.
TURN TABLE FOR ELECTRIC RAILWAY: Edison's invention was powered by an electric current that ran through the rails to reduce the chances of a short-circuit.
ELECTRICAL CURRENT CONVERTER: The device lowered electrical currents from high to low tensions so as to save energy.
ELECTRICAL METER FOR DC POWER: Edison created an electrical meter that measured the electrical energy used from a DC generator, as opposed to an AC generator.
PERFORATING TYPEWRITER: Edison improved the typewriter by creating a typewriter that made clearer marks. It left perforated marks on a sheet of paper which were later filled with ink.
UNIVERSAL STOCK TICKER: Edison claimed his stock ticker, or telegraph, was faster and easier to repair than existing print telegraphs.
ELECTRIC RAILWAY: Edison's electric railway consisted of conductors that were concealed between the rails, protecting them from short-circuiting.
DOLL PHONOGRAPH: Edison sought to create a phonograph that was small and cheap enough to be reproduced for dolls.
ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE: Edison created the electric locomotive for areas where traffic was too light for the typical steam locomotives.
ELECTRICITY FROM DRY CHEMICAL REACTIONS: Edison realised he could generate electricity by filling an iron pot with iron oxides.
KINETOGRAPHIC CAMERA: The camera showed successive photos in a rapid speed so as to make them appear to be moving.
WOOD AND RUBBER WHEEL: Edison designed a wheel that contained a tire made from wood and rubber for added traction.
CHEAPER PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM: Edison sought to improve film with a more affordable version that allowed more light to pass through. He used a strip of low carbon steel that was perforated.
ALKALINE BATTERY: While experimenting with an iron and nickle battery, Edison discovered an alkaline solution that produced an longer-lasting battery.
FLUORESCENT ELECTRIC LAMP: Edison created a fluorescent electric lamp using tungsten of calcium and strontium.
IMPROVED AUTOMOBILE: Although Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first self-propelled automobile in 1769, Edison designed an automobile whose wheels were better aligned with the car.
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