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April 18, 2019

Volume 49 - No. 16

By Pete Peterson

Most people would have ignored Thomas Alva Edison’s remarks, chalking them up to fatigue. As usual, he’d worked 22 of the last 24 hours. Nikola Tesla had just completed a series of drawings and wished to be paid, so what the hey? But, these two men were not like most people. They were geniuses, who literally revolutionized how America and the world lives. To understand the full impact of Edison’s criticism and Tesla’s deadly response, we have to more fully examine their accomplishments together and apart. Question: Did you turn on a light today? Start your car? The Paper - 760.747.7119

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Use an electric iron? Check your cell phone for messages?

If you took any of these actions, listened to the radio, place a perishable item in the refrigerator to keep it from spoiling, you have Edison and Tesla to thank. Edison and His Inventions

Of the two, Edison is more recognizable primarily because as every school girl or boy knows, he invented the incandescent light bulb. Tesla? His inventions are less well-known but are used daily. Edison became famous before he was 30, successful as an inventor, manufacturer and

businessman. In his 84 years on this planet, he acquired an unbelievable number of 1,093 patents (singly or jointly). He was the driving force behind such innovations as the phonograph, the light bulb and the motion picture camera. One of his inventions, the Edison Writer, revolutionized business, by allowing men and women to dictate letters and correspondence at any time, simply by speaking into a microphone so their words could be heard later. Sound familiar? Yeah. The granddaddy of the hand-held voice recorder you can purchase for $49.99 at Best Buy.

Edison changed industry as we know it, creating the world’s first industrial park – much like

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those of today – and in the process transformed tiny Menlo Park, New Jersey into a bastion of creativity, which by extension, generated thousands of jobs for thousands of people the world over. Edison’s legacy is that of a great inventor, but he also possessed the talent, skill and drive to run a scientific laboratory while simultaneously manufacturing and marketing his discoveries to a public hungry for easier ways to perform tedious, timeconsuming chores. As a child, Edison’s greatest asset, according to biographers, was his ability to persevere on a problem until it was solved. Born on a cold February day in 1847, in the small Ohio town of

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