On January 27th, 1880, Thomas Edison was awarded a patent for an incandescent lamp. It was still two years before his first power grid would flicker to life in NYC, and Edison was living on the precipice of a new age. Oh, how things have changed.
Lower Manhattan of the 1880s was a wonderland of futuristic technology and engineering: The city's first cable car arced over the harbor. A spindly new steel bridge was forming to connect Williamsburg to the city. And on the Lower East Side, Edison was tearing up the streets to build the first permanent power…
Nikola Tesla was a legendary futurist before the term futurist even existed. He made all kinds of predictions about the way that world would and should operate — some of them accurate, and some of them controversial. And guess what? It's his birthday!
In observance of India's National Science Day, graphic designer Kapil Bhagat created a series of simple typographical posters that creatively recognize scientists for their various inventions or discoveries.
Over a century ago, Thomas Edison developed a rechargeable nickel-iron battery, designed to power cars. Remarkably, the technology is still used by some people to store energy from solar panels and wind turbines—but now, Stanford engineers have tweaked it to charge 1000 times faster.
This story about talking watches appeared in an 1895 issue of the Dutch journal De Natuur and was found in the book Victorian Inventions.
100 years ago, a newspaper published Thomas Edison's musings on the far-off future of 2011. According to the famed inventor, we should be driving around in solid gold taxis.
You can't blame the people of 1920 for falling for Edison's practical joke. After all, this was the man who invented the light bulb! When he told a magazine he'd invented a phone that communicates with spirits, hysteria understandably ensued.
Today is inventor extraordinaire Nikola Tesla's 154th birthday. To celebrate, someone made this gushing video overview of Tesla's life, including a lengthy digression on how Thomas Edison was a "jerk." Is this, I wonder, our very first Tesla fanboy? [Reddit]
In today's remainders: Apple hints at an LTE iPhone, augmented reality finds a new niche, Thomas Edison brings down the house, and Microsoft comes clean about its cryptic ads.
There's little action, no sound, and the footage is grainy. But this brief clip may be the only existing video of writer Mark Twain and his daughters Clara and Jean. It was captured in 1909 by inventor Thomas Edison.
You know, I thought electric light here in the 19th century was the devil's work. In fact, I must say that when I walked into this room filled with the strange candle-less fire I almost soiled my pantaloons. Thankfully, Mr. Edison's disclaimer on the wall put my mind at ease. [NextNature via Boing Boing Gadgets]
The 2006 book Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change by Bob Seidensticker is a fascinating read. From page 103:
Those of you amused by the Edison recording outrage will love this: a toy gramophone kit that lets you record and play back your voice from a plastic cup. Made by Gekken, a Japanese company that produces educational toys, it uses exactly the same principle as Edison's, with the neat use of a plastic cup as the audio…
Audio historian David Giovannoni and scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have discovered and brought back to life the first audio recording ever made, 17 years before Edison's patent. The ten-second snippet was made on a phonoautograph, a device that only recorded sounds but didn't play them back,…