Thomas Edison was the inventor of dozens of technologies that shaped the world we live in today. He didn’t have much to contribute to research and development, but he sure was the first person who successfully did blitzkrieg engineering product development and became so well known for it. Surely we have heard of the light bulb and the gramophone that plays records, but there are a lot of his inventions that aren’t well known in the engineering community including many that were discarded or improved beyond recognition in the coming years. Here are the improve/altered forms of some of this inventions that we continue to use today, and we don’t know about it:
1. Electrical Printing Machine-Keyboard
His electrical printing machine was patented back in 1872 which had keys to punch on. The more ergonomically designed keyboard was eventually adopted after the typewriter, but the technology behind had a lot of effort of Edison himself.
2. Stencil Pen-Tattoo Engraving Machines
Those of you who are into the business might know that the tattoo machines are in fact a 135-year old patent from Edison himself, but they weren’t meant for this recreational purpose back then!
3. Edison’s Vote Reader-Voting machines
Edison made a mechanical vote reader that could count votes but was rejected by politicians since a slow vote was deemed necessary as part of the political process. However, the idea was reincorporated with modern electronics to create the voting machines. Vote counting is still done slowly though because it is a political necessity.
4. Edison’s Gramophone- Sound systems
Although classical enthusiasts still have records and gramophones in their living rooms, the gramophone eventually was improved to become a tape recorder and then the stereo system we see everywhere. It was the beginning of the sound revolution.
5. Speaking Telephone- mobile phones
Although it was Alexander Bell who eventually invented the phone, Edison also had a part in it. He proposed telegraphic cables be used to transmit voice signals. Although we are past that, his contributions towards voice transmission are too significant to ignore.
6. Edison’s Electromagnetic Railway Engine- Modern Trains
Edison, like his rival Tesla, was a firm believer in electrical power as the future of the locomotive power and even made an electromagnetic engine that eventually became the modern day trains we see around us.
7. Fruit preservers-Vacuum Sealers
Edison removed air from fruit jars to make them last longer. The technology is still used in the form of vacuum seals on food items.
8. Kinetographic camera-Motion picture cameras
Edison was one of the pioneers of motion capture on film and was probably the first person to come up with a real video on film by making a reel. His contributions are immortalized with modern motion capture cameras.
9. Vehicle Wheel-Became Rubber Tyre
Edison covered wooden tyres of cars with rubber to improve traction and reduce wear and tear. Nobody had thought of this before and soon enough, wooden wheels were ditched in favor of rubber tyres completely, thus making automobiles much more comfortable and efficient.