Device and method for telegraphing photographically.
Carbon crucible kept brilliantly incandescent by current in vacuo, for obtaining reaction with refractory metals.
Device for examining combinations of odors and their changes by rotation at different speeds.
From one of the preceding items it will be noted that even in the eighties Edison perceived much advantage to be gained in the line of economy by the use of lamp filaments employing refractory metals in their construction. From another caveat, filed in 1889, we extract the following, which shows that he realized the value of tungsten also for this purpose. "Filaments of carbon placed in a combustion tube with a little chloride ammonium. Chloride tungsten or titanium passed through hot tube, depositing a film of metal on the carbon; or filaments of zirconia oxide, or alumina or magnesia, thoria or other infusible oxides mixed or separate, and obtained by moistening and squirting through a die, are thus coated with above metals and used for incandescent lamps. Osmium from a volatile compound of same thus deposited makes a filament as good as carbon when in vacuo."
In 1888, long before there arose the actual necessity of duplicating phonograph records so as to produce replicas in great numbers, Edison described in one of his caveats a method and process much similar to the one which was put into practice by him in later years. In the same caveat he describes an invention whereby the power to indent on a phonograph cylinder, instead of coming directly from the voice, is caused by power derived from the rotation or movement of the phonogram surface itself. He did not, however, follow up this invention and put it into practice. Some twenty years later it was independently invented and patented by another inventor. A further instance of this kind is a method of telegraphy at sea by means of a diaphragm in a closed port-hole flush with the side of the vessel, and actuated by a steam-whistle which is controlled by a lever, similarly to a Morse key. A receiving diaphragm is placed in another and near-by chamber, which is provided with very sensitive stethoscopic ear-pieces, by which the Morse characters sent from another vessel may be received. This was also invented later by another inventor, and is in use to-day, but will naturally be rivalled by wireless telegraphy. Still another instance is seen in one of Edison's caveats, where he describes a method of distilling liquids by means of internally applied heat through electric conductors. Although Edison did not follow up the idea and take out a patent, this system of distillation was later hit upon by others and is in use at the present time.
In the foregoing pages of this chapter the authors have endeavored to present very briefly a sketchy notion of the astounding range of Edison's practical ideas, but they feel a sense of impotence in being unable to deal adequately with the subject in the space that can be devoted to it. To those who, like the authors, have had the privilege of examining the voluminous records which show the flights of his imagination, there comes a feeling of utter inadequacy to convey to others the full extent of the story they reveal.
The few specific instances above related, although not representing a tithe of Edison's work, will probably be sufficient to enable the reader to appreciate to some extent his great wealth of ideas and fertility of imagination, and also to realize that this imagination is not only intensely practical, but that it works prophetically along lines of natural progress.
WHILE the world's progress depends largely upon their ingenuity, inventors are not usually persons who have adopted invention as a distinct profession, but, generally speaking, are otherwise engaged in various walks of life. By reason of more or less inherent native genius they either make improvements along lines of present occupation, or else evolve new methods and means of accomplishing results in fields for which they may have personal predilections.
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