Edison and The Rise of Innovation is an biography by Leonard DeGraff He works as an archivist at the Thomas Edison National Park in New Jersey. Most biographies have just words in them. This biography is special, because it is includes photos of all the inventions. This biography also contains photos of the house where he lived and the lab where he worked. This biography is informative and inspiring to me. I want to invent things to make the lives of disabled people like myself easier. But, I will digress and offer my review of the book first.
I am fascinated by Edison's range of scientific curiosity. Most people know that Edison invented the electric light, but I learned that he started a company to develop things like cement, motion pictures and even rubber. I learned that rubber can be made from the latex extracted by the golden rod flower. I learned that latex can be extracted from 38,000 different species of flowers. This is just an amazing fact to learn.
Edison produced a film entitled The Life Of Abraham Lincoln in 1915. I am a big movie fan. I would love to see the quality of a film that is a century old. Edison unsuccessfully tried to market battery powered vehicles like cars and motorcycles. This is due in large part to the preference to Henry Ford's gas powered cars. in the early twentieth century. There are really neat pictures of Edison's early model vehicles in the book. Even though, his batteries did not work in vehicles, they powered things like radios, boats and telephone switch boards. I am amazed at the versatility of Edison's inventions.
Edison also invented the electric doll and the phonograph. He put a phonograph into the doll that gave it the ability to speak. He pioneered the first record club, in which people were sent twenty records to listen to every month. Leonard DeGraaf makes references to people I have never of like singer Enrico Caruso and actress Sarah Bernhardt. I would love to listen to Caruso's music and watch Bernhardt's films just to see if I would like them. This Edison biography sparks the inventive spirit in me. I would like to invent an inexpensive wheelchair that can move up steps and curbs. I would also invent a sturdier portable walker that I could use at work and in airplanes when I travel. I hope I can find the money, material and connections to make these inventions become reality someday.
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