Edison – Premier Job Creator

“Because of him, the millennium will end in a wash of brilliant light rather than in torchlight darkness as it began.” -Life Magazine

Edison in his beloved chemistry lab

Edison in his beloved chemistry lab

In today’s highly charged political environment, folks like to talk about creating jobs and who is best able to do this. Thomas Edison moved to West Orange, NJ in 1886, to live and create what would become his great invention and manufacturing facility-his legendary West Orange Labs. Nothing but farmland in 1887 when construction begins, by 1905, there are over 14,000 people working there-with a full complement of buildings on 25 acres of land.

Here is the real magic of Edison, who teaches the world a powerful economic lesson-the incredible value of R&D in new product development. By 1905, there are about 250 people working in Edison’s invention factory [photo below], where 30-40 project teams are busy creating and building new products.

Edison’s heavy machine shop-where invention prototypes take shape

Edison’s heavy machine shop-where invention prototypes take shape

As Edison himself approves these prototypes for production, the other 14,000 employees then make, market, and sell the new products. That is a manpower leverage of almost 60 to 1. An R&D job is capable of creating about 60 more manufacturing jobs. This is the essence of a technology driven economy and what we have generally come to call “progress”. Last year, the U.S. spent almost $500 billion on R&D, across all economic sectors.

Edison enjoying a meal with fellow inventors, his “Muckers”

Edison enjoying a meal with fellow inventors, his “Muckers”

In 2012, the Voice of America proclaimed Thomas Edison was probably responsible for one-fourth of all the jobs on the planet. Something he achieved in his labs or patented, or an industry he created, resulted in significant jobs and economies that have come down to us today.

“Among life’s many conveniences we can take for granted, thanks in part to him [Edison]: copiers, radio, movies, TV, phones (he improved Bell’s).” –Life Magazine

Following this up, the Edison Innovation Foundation commissioned in 2015 its own economic analysis of Edison’s impact on our economy. Examining the productivity ripple effect of Edison’s major accomplishments, approximately 10% of the annual national economy, about $1.6 trillion, is directly attributable to the great inventor’s work. At an international level, this translates to about $6-7 trillion per year.

The best way to sum up Edison’s impact is to quote Life Magazine, which proclaimed Edison the “Man of the Millennium!”

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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Edison Smiles on his 6th Annual Invention Contest

The Thomas Edison Invention Contest is all about having young folks learn how to integrate alternate energy concepts into problem solving. Back in 1910 Edison was championing the use of solar energy as a clean form of energy. As usual, the great inventor was way ahead of the curve. As you read below, both elementary and high school contestants came up with some creative solutions for the 2016 contest whose theme was …. “use alternative energy to create an invention for a population that had experienced a natural disaster”.

In the Elementary & Middle School Category

1st Place–Freehold Intermediate School: STEM STARZ
New Jersey
STEM STARZ justified using the “power of 3” to aid in disaster relief missions focusing on solar, wind and hydro energy.

1st Place–Freehold Intermediate School: STEM STARZ

2nd Place–Linwood Middle School: STEMINISTS
New Jersey
The team created a device that would send an alarm to an underprivileged or over populated area that is accustomed to floods or earthquakes.

3rd Place–Heritage Middle School: Swagmasters Tech
New Jersey
Project was called “Turbo Turbine” which aids in flood disasters. The team designed these turbines to be placed in sewers so during floods, the running water would still transfer energy to affected areas.

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In the High School Category

1st Place–Hackettstown High School: Tiger Team 2
New Jersey
Method for charging aerial drones during flooding situations. The boats would contain various charging stations for the drones to charge while other drones continue dropping supplies such as food and water to flood victims until help can reach their location.

1st Place–Hackettstown High School: Tiger Team 2

2nd Place–High Point Regional High School: The Composters
New Jersey
Plans to place turbines in sewer systems to generate power during floods.

3rd Place–Chaney Stem Campus: D.R. Responsers
Ohio
Their designs use turbines to generate power for emergency service facilities.

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A hearty well-done to all participants, especially the winners. Edison would be smiling at your efforts.

Here are the stats for this year’s contest: 84 student teams comprised of approximately 300 students, from 29 schools scattered over 6 states, competed for honors-and all of the competition was done virtually, with students submitting their work electronically to a panel of judges from the scientific/engineering community.

All student winners have received plaques. First place winning schools have received 3D printers, and second and third place winners will receive prototyping kits for use in the classroom.

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said … “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

Eleven students at Draper University’s Hero City met to compete in a high stakes Pitch Contest, sponsored by the Edison Innovation Foundation–the prize-$10,000. Mr. Kenny Hawk, a nationally recognized Silicon Valley entrepreneur, served as co-sponsor and emcee of the event.

Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

Draper University is a school for innovators, founded by world renowned innovator, Tim Draper. Located in San Mateo, the new entrepreneurial playground between Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Hero City at Draper University is a co-working space that promotes innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.

The students (see photo below) ranged in age from their teens to early 40s, competing with new product ideas and services-having just 2minutes each to present their ideas, with 2 minutes for Q&A. For budding entrepreneurs, pitching ideas is a powerful skill to get potential investors quickly focused on a new idea and willing to learn more about it.

Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

The pitches were quite diverse, ranging from an “on-demand hair salon” to a “hybrid electric conversion kit for auto rickshaws to reduce air pollution and poverty”. The $10,000 winner was Russell Ladson for his entry “using artificial intelligence to contextualize video search”…which basically boils down to using AI software to be able to search video files [like YouTube and others] and be able to find what you want by showing the software an image of what you are looking for.

Shown in the center of the photo below, in bright red shirt, is the winner Russell Ladson. Shown to the right in photo is Mr. John Keegan, President and CEO of the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

I have got to believe old Tom Edison is smiling over this, young people enthusiastically proposing new ideas and explaining their value. This is exactly what the business world needs and values.

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

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