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Thomas Edison's Influence on American Society

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Francis Nguyen

on 7 June 2013

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Transcript of Thomas Edison's Influence on American Society

Francis Nguyen How Did Thomas Edison Influence American Society? Thomas Edison's Inventions The Wizard of Menlo Park had over 1,093 patents when he died, still holding the record for the most patents in a lifetime. His most famous inventions were the lightbulb (though it was already invented he just made it practical for commercial use), the phonograph, the kinetoscope, and the direct current electricity. All of these inventions were the basis of the technology we use today. The Lightbulb Imagine a world without the lightbulb. Night would mark the end of all work and play Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb, but without him our world could be still have total darkness in the night. Edison's lightbulb was the first practical lightbulb that was able to be used commercially and for household use. Direct Current September 4th, 1882, the first power plant in America was turned on by Thomas Edison. When Thomas Edison invented the Direct Current power network it failed to be able to be used practically because DC required thick power cables and large power plants every square mile to be used economically. The Movie Box Edison's Lasting Effects Although most, if not all, of his inventions are now outdated, Edison's inventions are the building blocks of the modern world. Modern electricity originated from Edison's DC system, the world is light up by lightbulbs, and Edison started the very first movie studio. Who knows, without him you might of never watched a cat video online. "From Edison's lab came innovations that laid the groundwork for the technology-driven world we live in today" -Richard Lacayo "It enables our towns and cities to clothe themselves in gaiety by night, no matter how sad their appearance may be by day..." -Herbert Hoover "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas A. Edison "... Thomas Edison was more responsible than any one else for creating the modern world .... No one did more to shape the physical/cultural makeup of present day civilization.... Accordingly, he was the most influential figure of the millennium...." -The Heroes Of The Age: Electricity And Man Direct Current Vs. Alternate Current Alternate current, invented by Nikola Tesla, was far superior to direct current for it's ability to transfer electricity over long distances without losing much power. Electrons in a direct current system had to flow through the entire length of wire meaning a lot of energy was lost by heat. AC did not need to transfer electrons the entire way meaning a lot less energy was lost.This was the main point that George Westinghouse used to show that AC was superior to DC. Thomas Edison, on the other hand, refused to believe that AC would surpass his DC system. Because AC was able to be used in a much higher voltage than DC, it had a higher chance of being a public hazard. This was Edison's main point against AC, even going as far electrocuting an elephant to show the dangers of alternate current. In the end, alternate current was shown to be the victor. "Anything that won't sell, I don't want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success." -Thomas A. Edison An example of the phonograph being used.
The phonograph could only be viewed by one person at a time and was very uncomfortable because most people needed to bend down to watch the video. With streets lit up at night production was able to rise dramatically because nighttime didn't necessarily mean no more work could be done. The lightbulb was probably Thomas Edison's most famous invention. Luckily for Edison, a man Nikola Tesla came to him with the concept of alternate current, another electricity system that was much more effective than direct current. Edison hired Nikola Tesla to improve his DC system, which Tesla did only because he greatly admired Edison. But Edison failed to pay Tesla $50,000 he promised him after Tesla improved his DC generators. This led to the feud between the two geniuses and the war of the currents (AC vs. DC). Although Edison lost the war because alternate current was technologically superior, without him Tesla might have never come to America to show the world the AC system. And to this day alternate current is the electricity system that powers America Lights, camera, action! On October 17, 1998,
Thomas Edison invented the first video recorder known as the kinetoscope. The inventions of the kinetoscope led to Edison making the very first movie studio, known as the The Black Maria. This led to the filmmaking business. Edison believed that the best way to gain profit from the kinetoscope was for people to use the device one by one by paying a small fee to watch a short clip. The kinetoscope was like the YouTube of that era. It even showed cat videos. On the contrary, Edison's partner believed the best way to earn money was to show the video to a large group of people, like a movie theather. Edison refused, knowing that a video recorded by the kinetoscope loses a lot of quality when the video enlarged. *If you are unable to read the text, you are able to zoom in while it is being presented (clicked the text or scroll up to zoom in) http://www.history.com/shows/men-who-built-america/videos/the-rise-of-thomas-edison The Men Who Built America: The Rise of Thomas Edison Francis Nguyen
Period 2 SS Ugalde Thanks for watching!
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