Floor plan for a 3D printed home – [Image source: https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/americas-first-3d-printed-houses-99189/]

Thomas Edison Admires 3D Printed Homes

Rejuvenating an Old Dream

Imagine being able to custom order a house built in one day that is weather-proof, insect-resistant, storm-resistant, and cute as all-get-out. This is being done now with a grown-up size 3D printer, and a good supply of ready-to-build concrete. Not your average size classroom printer, but a superb example of relevant technology application.

This technology is a powerful argument for supplying durable and quickly built housing for those in need; for bulging populations in developing nations; and can be used for more than just houses…with application to building commercial structures. Think of quickly built hospitals in remote areas, or in cities in need of medical facilities. Concrete is everywhere in our modern world and can be used in so many places. This technology is now being discussed and employed all over the world. These homes can be quick replacements for those destroyed in hurricanes, tornados and other natural disasters.


Another innovator was working in concrete and building homes in the early 1900’s. Perhaps you heard of him…Thomas Edison…who in 1908 began experimenting with using large steel molds for building concrete structures–two of his pilot buildings were built on the site of his historic home at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park [TENHP] in West Orange, NJ. Both these structures remain in excellent condition today [a potting shed and a large garage]; and are toured by thousands of public and professional visitors to TENHP every year. 

A Thomas Edison designed concrete house being built with steel molds on four walls—circa 1919.
Edison’s beautiful 10-car garage, looks as good today as when built with his concrete in 1908!

Edison’s durable concrete was later used to build Yankee Stadium.  It is worth noting that Edison’s work in concrete revamped the entire industry, increasing typical manufacturing plant outputs by a factor of four. Did we mention he also used his concrete to build the many buildings in the manufacturing complex at his legendary West Orange facility!

Editor’s Deep Dive

https://www.sculpteo.com/blog/2018/01/03/concrete-3d-printer-the-new-challenge-of-the-construction-business/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edison_Portland_Cement_Company

https://search.aol.com/aol/video;_ylt=A2KIbMdr9K1czSEAGI1pCWVH;_ylu=X3oDMTByMDgyYjJiBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?q=concrete+d+printed+home+videos+youtube&v_t=webmail-searchbox#id=37&vid=44bf5762a76a45b5698bdd53c71b5e78&action=view.

Thomas Edison said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
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This image released Wednesday, April 10, 2019, by Event Horizon Telescope shows a black hole. Scientists revealed the first image ever made of a black hole after assembling data gathered by a network of radio telescopes around the world. EVENT HORIZON TELESCOPE COLLABORATION/MAUNAKEA OBSERVATORIES VIA Associated Press

Thomas Edison Admires First Photos of a Black Hole

–Vindication of Einstein 100+ Year Old Prediction–

Big or small in size, a black hole is a super massive anomaly in the fabric of space, often likened to worm holes or conduits between space time. Black holes can be as small as just one atom, with the mass of a large mountain; or it could be much larger with the equivalent mass of many suns squeezed into the volume of a large ball. Very strange this black hole stuff!  So strange that the gravitational field left over from the collapse of multiple stars [supernovae] is strong enough that not even light can escape its grip….thus it appears black, and hence the name black hole.

Predicted more than 100 years ago by Einstein while formulating his theories on relativity, documented photographic evidence of a black hole has now confirmed its existence. The target for this actual observation using the Event Horizon Telescope was a giant elliptical galaxy known as M-87, about 55 million light years away in the constellation Virgo; a black hole that contains six-and-a-half billion solar masses crammed into a region about the size of a solar system. Check it out!

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/first-black-hole-picture-event-horizon-telescope-first-image-black-hole-m-87-scientists-announce-today-2019-04-10/

The globe-spanning network of radio dishes, atomic clocks and computers making up the Event Horizon Telescope also is expected to image Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the heart of our own Milky Way galaxy; which is a more “tame”, less massive version of the M-87 black hole. Our galaxy’s anomaly is a 4.3-million-solar-mass black hole filling a volume smaller than Earth’s solar system, located 26,000 light years away in the core of the Milky Way. Its presence can be observed in the motions of nearby stars. Those motions at the core of the galaxy have been studied for years, providing the mass of the hole along with other insights, but no one has actually viewed the black hole itself. It may be photographed soon!

An artist’s impression of a black hole surrounded by an accretion disk of infalling material and high-energy jets extending from its poles. NASA/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison was interested in space too, trying to measure the temperature of the sun during  a solar eclipse. He also understood the radio emission of stars. Check it out at a previous blog published on this website: edisonmuckers.org/radio-astronomy.

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

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
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Thomas Edison Marvels at Giant Wind Machines

Thomas Edison Marvels at Giant Wind Machines

Something big is coming….soon….a wind turbine of truly gigantic proportions.

As the world looks to the oceans for the location of wind farms, it becomes obvious the costs for such farms will be expensive, given the difficulty of offshore installations. It behooves designers to install large wind machines to reduce the total number of machines, and thus all the balance of plant costs associated with linking a large number of machines together. This is the key idea behind GE’s new very large wind turbine, the Haliade-X class of turbines.

[Image Source: www.ge.com/renewableenergy/wind-energy/turbines/haliade-x-offshore-turbine]

Heretofore, large wind turbines were considered to be approximately 5-9 MW in size. However, the Haliade-X class of machines is a hefty 12 MW in size; which means its blades must be quite long to harvest large amounts of energy from the steady winds one encounters several miles offshore. Check out this large wind turbine here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybh7NwZv7c8).

Each new turbine when fully operational can generate 45% more energy than contemporary machines, supplying about 16,000 homes with electricity. Its capacity factor is also greater than contemporary machines, which means it can harvest more wind and usefully convert it to electricity. This makes offshore wind farms more compact and cheaper.

Here are the impressive physical particulars:

Each blade is longer than a football field, with a total rotor diameter of 722 feet [220 m]. Keep in mind that while city blocks vary in length around the U.S., a length of 600-800 feet is not unusual in older established towns and cities. The blades of the Haliade-X is almost at the upper end of this range. Imagine your block rotating in the air! Just to put this in perspective, modern day aircraft carriers are typically 1,000  feet in length.

The area swept out by the rotor blades is equivalent to 7 football fields…truly gigantic. Those football fields all together occupy 9.2 acres. Again….the useful comparison to an aircraft carrier, whose flight deck is on the order of 4.5 acres—so the total rotor swept area of a Haliade-X wind turbine is twice the area of a modern aircraft carrier!

The total height of the turbine assembly to water line is 853 feet, or 3 times the total height of the famous Flatiron Building in lower New York City; and approaching the height of the Chrysler Building and the Eiffel Tower.

[Image Source: www.windpoweroffshore.com/article/1458364/ge-unveils-12mw-offshore-turbine-updated]

To facilitate the capture of large amounts of wind (and solar) energy will require large surface areas, for which there is no getting around this. Efforts like that of GE’s new Haliade-X wind machine is a serious engineering response to this challenge. Probably in the next two years, look for the installation of this new turbine.

Thomas Edison said … “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
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I like the Montessori Method. It teaches through play. It makes learning a pleasure. It follows the natural instincts of the human being. - Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison Admires Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She initially worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology, eventually concentrating on education in 1907. She was truly a liberated woman, who supposedly even entertained the thought of becoming an engineer.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

Her Montessori method of education stressed the development of a child’s own initiative and natural abilities–especially through practical play, and a hands-on, self-paced approach to learning; aimed at inspiring creativity and imagination,  along with  independent thinking [OMG….sounds like today’s STEM!]. This educational paradigm, after a tenuous start and the tumult of World War I, eventually spread over the globe.

Dr. Montessori made her first visit to the United States for a brief lecture tour in 1912. She was given an enthusiastic welcome, including a reception at the White House. She gave her first lecture at Carnegie Hall to overflowing crowds, and stayed at the home of Thomas Edison, who admired her work. In addition, other admirers were Alexander Graham Bell, Helen Keller, Henry Ford, Woodrow Wilson and Mahatma Gandhi. Today, estimates vary widely, but as many as 8,000 Montessori schools flourish in the United States.

Montessori with her beloved children (above and below)

Edison was quoted as saying … ”I like the Montessori method. It teaches through play. It makes learning a pleasure. It follows the natural instincts of the human being … The present system casts the brain into a mold. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning.” This meshes well with Edison’s many career pronouncements about changing the current form of American education to make it more practical. It is worthwhile to note that early markets that Edison envisioned for his phonograph and motion pictures were school classrooms.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Co-founders of Google, have said that Montessori education allowed them to think for themselves. They credit Montessori with allowing them to question what was going on around them and to discover the answers for themselves. Former Montessori students, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, and Will Wright, inventor of “The Sims” video game series, also credit Montessori for allowing them to ask questions, discover, and learn on their own terms. 

Thomas Edison said, “The world owes nothing to any man, but every man owes something to the world.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
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