When: December 9, 1914, 5:15 p.m. Where: West Orange, NJ How: Large explosion in Building 41, film inspection area
The great fire of 1914 was triggered by highly combustible nitrate film exploding. Nitrate film at that time was composed of nitrocellulose, also known as gun cotton, a major ingredient of naval munitions…and known to be highly combustible if in an unstable state.
Throughout his life, Edison created and radically altered not only the lighting industry, but many others that created the American economy. In fact, $8 to 12 billion of the US’s economy today can be tied to Thomas Edison’s innovation. Here are 7 main industries in which he had a major impact:
1. Lighting Industry
Probably his most iconic invention, the light bulb gave birth to a huge industry for providing lighting across a wide variety of illumination needs. Along with creating the lighting industry, many writers credit Edison’s light bulb with promoting the productive capacity of humanity, increasing nighttime safety, and making evening entertainment events more popular.
2. Music & Radio
The ability to record sound and re-play it is one of the world’s great pleasures; and it stems from Edison’s phonograph and the world’s first recording studio at Edison’s West Orange labs. Here, the first great recordings fostered an ever prospering desire to create new sounds and rhythms. Think of the national awards and accolades we bestow upon recording artists every year at show like the Grammys, American Music Awards, and more! Not to mention the booming podcast industry of the modern era.
3. Motion Pictures
Just a few hundred feet from Edison’s recording studio, the invention of the motion picture camera took place in West Orange, NJ; and about a block away, Edison built the first motion picture studio, unlocking the world’s fascination with movies. We enjoy movies today on large and small screens everywhere. Again, think of the awards we celebrate every year for this highly creative and expanding industry.
4. Battery Industry
We hear so much today about the value of battery energy storage for electric vehicles and the storage of solar generated electricity. We can thank Edison for his development of alkaline storage batteries in the early 1900’s for battery technology today. They were not only the back bone of mining helmet lights or his own electrical car in his time, but also for our cell phones, modern electric vehicles, and large scale utility system applications today!
5. Research & Development
Probably his most important innovation was Edison’s commercial research labs. This became the basis for R&D labs in every major company in the and served as the model for the network of national labs which drive our America’s science and engineering legacy. In 2019, America spent about $550 billion on organized research in all sectors of the economy!
6. Electric Power Industry
Our entire electrical energy system is based on the model Edison demonstrated in 1882 at Central Station in New York City. Improved over the years and converted from DC to AC, this industry provides the power for our homes, industrial practices, internet connection, and keeps our cell phones and other hand-held devices charged.
7. Electronic Devices
Did you know
that Edison filed the first “electronic” patent in 1883? It was a phenomenon
that Edison observed in 1875 and refined later while he trying to improve the incandescent
lamp. They call it the “Edison Effect.” This discovery was applied to modern
electronics like transistors, microchips, phones, televisions, and x-ray
When cracks eventually begin
to form in the concrete, water enters and opens the capsules. The bacteria then
germinate, multiply and feed on the lactate, and in doing so they combine the
calcium with carbonate ions to form calcite (limestone) which closes up the
cracks. The concrete mending process may take a few weeks to complete.
We have all seen those
rust-brown streaks that stain things like bridge abutments, pillars, and many
other concrete objects. The real problem with concrete cracks is water
in-leakage and the rusting of reinforcing bars that can weaken the structural
integrity of the concrete structure.
Work continues with this
technology to develop a spray-on healing liquid for large surface areas. Who
knows? Maybe they would have used this technology on the old Yankee stadium, if
it was still around, which
was built with Edison Portland Cement.
February 11th is the birthday of the world’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison. In fact, people around the country celebrate it as “National Inventor’s Day” in his honor!
Edison, however, did not stray very much from his regular day when he celebrated this day. On Edison’s 73rd birthday, he reported to his desk bright and early ready to work. Age meant little to him.
According to Edison, “There is no reason why men should not live as old as the Sequoia trees of California if they take care of themselves”.
However, 73 was a special year for him. Since he started his career as a telegraph operator, Edison knew very well that 73 signified “all good wishes” in Morse Code! This would be the first real celebration he had in years.