Edison’s Bright Idea
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” —Thomas Edison
In 1878, when Edison announced that he would have a working small electric light “in a matter of weeks,” gas stocks plummeted. Riding on his already legendary reputation, Edison raised money, organized the Edison Electric Light Company, and set out to invent the electric light. The trick was simply to find the correct element for the light filament. Thousands of materials were tested, but none lasted beyond a few seconds. After months of failure, Edison hired a physics expert named Francis Up ton. With Upton’s help, the experimentation focused on a platinum filament, which showed some promise. It was now 1879. Work began early each morning, and Edison spent most of the day flitting from workbench to work bench observing the trials. At night he often took to the pipe organ as a diversion. By mid-1879 it was clear that the platinum lamp would not work.
In October of 1879, Upton and Edison’s assistant Charles Bachelor began researching carbon. They devised a lamp with a short carbonized thread in a vacuum. Beginning on October 21, 1879, the carbonized lamp remained lit for 40 hours. The road had been messy, discouraging, and very non-romantic, but success was finally reached. Edison believed the light could be invented. He placed his reputation on the line and faced more than a thousand failures before seeing that first successful lamp.
CONSIDER THIS: If you have a good idea, work toward its completion. The road may be messy and discouraging but the success will be sweet.Share on Facebook