Thomas Edison on Time

Are you one of those people who hear the clock ticking, relentlessly squeezing your productive time? Thomas Edison sure did. He had a keen sense of how fast time was moving; knowing that with each tick of the clock, competition was edging closer.

“The thing with which I lose patience most is the clock. Its hands move too fast”

Edison’s time card would often register 90+ hours a week of work time!

Edison’s time card would often register 90+ hours a week of work time!

His incredible legacy of team-based invention, which led to the invention factory concept, later to be popularly known as commercial R&D labs, has two great advantages….first, it codifies new product development into a repeatable sequence of steps-thereby extending indefinitely the industrial revolution of the late 1880s, right on up to current times. Second, it allows an incredibly fertile mind like Edison to multiplex his interests and skills across many project teams-which in Edison’s case usually kept 30-40 teams continuously busy with new inventions. In a way, the invention factory was a way to cheat that relentless clock he heard so clearly.

“The only time I become discouraged is when I think of all the things I like to do and the little time I have in which to do them”

Even in his home library, the mind of the great inventor was ever engaged.

Even in his home library, the mind of the great inventor was ever engaged.

Edison embodied this preoccupation with time with a stretch goal for his teams-often challenging them to come up with a minor invention every ten days and a major one every 3-6 months. Every night in the quiet of his home library, Edison would develop new ideas to be prototyped in his labs. His children would help him find important information from his many technical books, looking through the books and placing bits of paper where Papa could find what he was looking for.

“I would like to live about three hundred years. I think I have ideas enough to keep me busy that long.”

The world is grateful for the relentless work of Thomas Edison, for he defined our modern world, adding incredible value and benefits for generations to come. We should all be glad he heard that ticking clock.

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.”

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Thomas Edison Admires Li-Fi Lightbulb

I can see ol’ Tom Edison smiling at this next generation lightbulb, a kind of coy smile that might say he’s not that surprised. After all, his original light bulb technology gave birth to vacuum tubes and made radio and TV possible, so why not use that technology for other things.

Today we use Wi-Fi to access [radio waves] and download all sorts of information; but the amount of electromagnetic spectrum devoted to this is quite narrow … sort of like driving down a crowded one-lane road, when what we need is an eight -lane super highway. Light waves are another thing altogether, holding the promise of that super highway. Light waves can easily carry 10,000 times more volume than the currently allocated radio wave spectrum.

When properly equipped, an LED lightbulb can move information and lots of it via light. The key is imbedding a signal processor into the LEDs. Very short LED flashes of light do the data transmission. You don’t even see the flash and it does not affect the bulb’s light quality.

Thomas Edison Admires Li-Fi Lightbulb

In development since the early 2000’s, Li-Fi technology puts the upper speed for data transmission at 100 gigabits per second, about 15 times faster than the fastest Wi-Fi; and the Li-Fi is more secure too as the download does not pass through walls where it could be intercepted.

With Li-Fi, every LED light bulb can become an ultrafast wireless router or hotspot in the home or office. All your smart appliances can also be data-nourished from your LEDs as well. It’s another dimension of what we call the Internet of Things. Check out the videos embedded in the Editor’s Deep Dive section below-way cool to see and imagine the potential of this technology.

Thomas Edison Admires Li-Fi Lightbulb

Harald Haas, who teaches at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, coined the term “Li-Fi” at his TED Global Talk where he introduced the idea of “Wireless data from every light”. He is Chairman of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh and co-founder of pureLiFi. In October 2011, companies and industry groups formed the Li-Fi Consortium to promote and foster the advancement and implementation of this exciting technology. Russian, Chinese and Mexican interests are now active in this technology as well. Standards-making activities are also kicking in. The stage is set for some very interesting applications and large scale demos.

So what do you think, Tom!

Editor’s Deep Dive

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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Thomas Edison–Baseball Fan

The Thomas A. Edison film company captured what is the first known baseball game footage on May, 20 1898.Yes he was, a baseball fan. No big surprise here that he would love this beloved American sport. Here he is below throwing out a baseball, kicking off a long-ago match between teams … boys on a summer day.

At his legendary West Orange Labs, with his many employees, probably 10,000 or more, it was only natural for many healthy young men to engage in sports, what would later become known as industrial leagues. Tom supported his different sports teams. Here in the photo below, he is surrounded by one of those baseball teams, circa 1920s.

EdisonBull Baseball Team with TAE 1920s

Down at his winter home in Ft. Myers Florida, Edison enjoyed watching the boys tune-up their Spring training for the up-coming season. His attraction to the Philadelphia Athletics [later to become the Kansas City Athletics and later the Oakland A’s] was enshrined in this circa 1925 photo of Tom with (l. to r.) Ty Cobb and Connie Mack. He befriended legendary team manager Connie Mack, often socializing with him and other members of the team, and even occasionally hosting them at his estate. Edison remained a loyal fan, attending Athletics’ spring training and regular season games.

Connie Mack-TAE-Ty Cobb [best]

There was another fascinating connection Edison had with baseball. His Portland Cement (about 68,000 bags of it) was used to build the world’s most iconic ballpark-Yankee Stadium.

Umpire clip art

Play Ball!

Check these sites out:

  • http://edison.rutgers.edu/baseball.htm
  • http://www.edisonmuckers.org/the-house-that-babe-ruth%e2%80%a6-and-edison-built/

Thomas Edison on Time Magazine“I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

Time® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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