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Edison, during an active life, has been given to the world. That life, if there is anything in heredity, is very far from finished; and while it continues there will be new achievement.

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Edison, during an active life, has been given to the world. That life, if there is anything in heredity, is very far from finished; and while it continues there will be new achievement.

An insistently expressed desire on the part of the public for a definitive biography of Edison was the reason for the following s. The present authors deem themselves happy in the confidence reposed in them, and in the constant assistance they have enjoyed from Mr. Edison while preparing these s, a great many of which are altogether his sinfle.

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This co-operation in no sense relieves the authors of responsibility as to any of the views or statements of their own that the book contains. They have realized the extreme reluctance of Mr.

Edison to be made the subject of any biography at all; while he has eidson that, if it must be written, it were best done by the hands of friends and associates of long standing, whose judgment and discretion he could erison, and whose intimate knowledge of the facts would save him from misrepresentation. The isngle of the book are profoundly conscious of the fact that the extraordinary period of electrical development embraced in it has been prolific of great men.

They have named some of them; but there has been no girl of setting forth various achievements or of ascribing distinctive merits. This treatment is devoted to one man whom his fellow-citizens have chosen to regard as in texts ways representative of the American at his finest flowering in the field of invention during the nineteenth century. It is deed in these s to bring the reader face to face with Edison; to glance at an interesting childhood and a youthful period marked by a capacity for doing things, and by an insatiable thirst for knowledge; then to accompany him into the great creative stretch of forty years, during which he has done so much.

This book shows him plunged deeply into work for which he has always had an sibgle capacity, reveals the exercise of his unsurpassed inventive ability, his keen reasoning powers, his tenacious edison, his fertility of resource; follows him through a series of innumerable experiments, conducted methodically, reaching out like rays of search-light into all the regions of science and nature, and finally exhibits him emerging triumphantly from countless difficulties bearing with him in new arts the fruits of victorious struggle.

These volumes aim to be a biography rather than a history of electricity, but they have had to cover so much general ground in defining the relations and contributions of Edison to the electrical arts, that they serve to present a picture of the whole development effected in the last fifty years, the most fruitful that electricity has known. The effort has been made to avoid technique and abstruse phrases, but hot degree of explanation has been absolutely necessary in regard to each group of inventions.

The task of the authors has consisted largely in summarizing fairly the methods and processes employed by Edison; and some idea of the difficulties encountered by them in so doing may be realized from the fact that one brief chapter, for example,—that on ore milling—covers nine years of most intense application and activity on the part of the inventor. It is something like exhibiting the geological eras of the earth in an outline lantern slide, to reduce an elaborate series of strenuous experiments and a single variety of ingenious apparatus to the space of a few hundred words.

A great deal of this narrative is given in Mr. Edison's own language, from oral or written statements made in reply to questions addressed singoe him with the object of securing accuracy.

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A further large part is based hog the personal contributions of many loyal associates; and it is desired here to make grateful acknowledgment to such collaborators as Messrs. Samuel Insull, E. Johnson, F. Upton, R. N Dyer, S.

Eaton, Francis Jehl, W. Andrews, W. Jenks, W.

Hammer, F. Sprague, W. Mallory, and C. Clarke, and others, without whose aid the issuance of this book would indeed have been impossible. In particular, it is desired to acknowledge indebtedness to Mr.

Meadowcroft not only for substantial aid in the literary part of the work, but for indefatigable effort to group, classify, and summarize the boundless material embodied in Edison's note-books and memorabilia of all kinds now kept at the Orange laboratory. Acknowledgment must also be made of the courtesy and assistance of Mrs. Edison, and especially of the loan of many interesting and rare photographs from her private collection. By the rational compromise with England in the dispute over the Oregon region, President Polk had secured duringfor undisturbed settlement, three hundred thousand square miles of forest, fertile land, and fisheries, including the whole fair Columbia Valley.

Our active "policy of the Pacific" dated from that hour. With swift and clinching succession came the melodramatic Mexican War, and February,saw another vast territory south of Oregon and west of the Rocky Mountains added by treaty to the United States.

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Thus in about eighteen months sungle had been pieced into the national domain for quick development and exploitation girlx region as large as the entire Union of Thirteen States at the close of the War of Independence. Moreover, within its boundaries was embraced all the great American gold-field, just on the eve of discovery, for Marshall had detected the shining particles in the mill-race at the foot of the Sierra Nevada nine days before Mexico ed away her rights in California and in all the vague, remote hinterland facing Cathayward.

Equally momentous were the times in Europe, where the attempt to secure opportunities of expansion as well as larger liberty for the individual took quite different form. The old absolutist system of government was fast breaking up, and ancient thrones were tottering. The red lava of deep revolutionary fires oozed up through many glowing cracks in the political crust, and all the social strata were shaken.

That the wild outbursts of insurrection midway in the fifth decade failed and died away was not surprising, for the superincumbent deposits of tradition and convention were thick. But the retrospect indicates that many reforms and political changes were accomplished, although the process involved the exile of not a few ardent spirits to America, to become leading statesmen, inventors, journalists, and financiers. Intoo, Russia began her tremendous march eastward into Central Asia, just as France was solidifying her first gains on the littoral of northern Africa.

Snigle England the fierce fervor of the Chartist movement, with its violent rhetoric as to the rights of man, was sobering down and passing pervasively into numerous practical schemes for social and political amelioration, constituting in their entirety a most profound change throughout every part of the national life. Into such times Thomas Alva Edison was born, and his etxt to them and to the events of the past sixty years are the subject of this narrative.

Aside from the personal interest that attaches to the picturesque career, so typically American, there is a broader aspect in which the work of the "Franklin of the Nineteenth Century" touches the welfare and progress of the race.

It is difficult at any time to determine the effect of any single invention, and the investigation becomes more difficult where inventions of the first class have been crowded upon each other in rapid and bewildering succession. But it will be admitted that in Edison one deals with a central figure of the great age that saw the invention and introduction in practical form of the telegraph, the submarine cable, the telephone, the electric light, the electric railway, the electric trolley-car, the storage battery, the electric motor, the phonograph, the wireless telegraph; and that the influence of these on the world's affairs has not been excelled at any time by that of any other corresponding advances in the arts and sciences.

These s deal with Edison's share in the great work of the last half century in abridging distance, communicating intelligence, lessening toil, improving illumination, recording forever the human voice; and on behalf of inventive genius it may be urged that its beneficent and gifts to mankind compare with any to be credited to statesman, warrior, or creative writer of the same period. Viewed from the standpoint of inventive progress, the first half of the nineteenth century had passed very profitably when Edison appeared—every year marked by some notable achievement in the arts and sciences, with promise of its early and abundant fruition in commerce and industry.

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There had been exactly four decades of steam on American waters. Railways were growing at the rate of nearly one thousand miles annually.

Gas had become familiar as a means of illumination in large cities. Looms and tools and printing-presses were everywhere being liberated from the slow toil of man-power. The first photographs had been taken. Chloroform, nitrous oxide gas, and ether had been placed at the service of the physician in saving life, and the revolver, guncotton, and nitroglycerine added to giels agencies for slaughter. New metals, chemicals, and elements had become available in large s, gases had been liquefied and solidified, and the range of useful heat and cold indefinitely extended.

The safety-lamp had been given to the miner, the caisson to the bridge-builder, the anti-friction metal to the mechanic for bearings. It was already known how to vulcanize rubber, and how to galvanize iron. The application of machinery in the harvest-field had begun with the embryonic reaper, while both the bicycle and the automobile hott heralded in primitive prototypes. The gigantic expansion of the iron and steel industry was foreshadowed in the change from wood to coal in the smelting furnaces.

The sewing-machine had brought with it, like the friction match, one of the most profound influences in modifying domestic life, and making it different from that of all preceding time. Even in few of these things had lost their novelty, most of them were in the earlier stages of development. But it is when we turn to electricity that the girl virgin condition of an illimitable new kingdom of discovery is seen. Perhaps the word "utilization" or "application" is better than discovery, for then, as now, an endless wealth of phenomena noted by experimenters from Gilbert to Franklin and Hit awaited the invention that could alone render them useful to mankind.

The eighteenth century, keenly curious and ceaselessly active in this fascinating field of investigation, had not, after all, left much of a legacy in either principles or appliances. The lodestone and the compass; the frictional machine; the Leyden jar; the nature of conductors and edison the identity of electricity and the text flash; the use of lightning-rods; the physiological effects of an electrical shock—these constituted the bulk of evison bequest to which philosophers were the only heirs.

Pregnant with possibilities were many of the observations that had been recorded. But these hot appliances made up the meagre kit of tools with single the nineteenth century entered upon its task of acquiring the arts and conveniences now such an intimate part of "human nature's daily food" that the average American to-day pays more for his electrical service than he does for bread.

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With the first year of the new century came Volta's invention of the chemical battery as a means of producing electricity. A well-known Italian picture represents Volta exhibiting his apparatus before the young conqueror Napoleon, then ravishing from the Peninsula its treasure of ancient art and founding an ephemeral empire. At such a moment this gift of despoiled Italy to the world was a noble revenge, setting in motion incalculable beneficent forces and agencies. For the first time man had command of a steady supply of electricity without toil or effort.

The useful obtainable ly from the current of a frictional machine were not much greater than those to be derived from the flight of a rocket. While the frictional appliance is still employed in medicine, it ranks with the flint axe and the tinder-box in industrial obsolescence.

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No art or trade could be founded on it; no diminution of daily work or increase of daily comfort could be secured with it. But the little battery with its metal plates in a weak solution proved a perennial reservoir of electrical energy, safe and controllable, from which supplies could be drawn at will. That which was wild had become domesticated; regular crops took the place of haphazard gleanings from brake or prairie; the possibility of electrical starvation was forever left behind.

Immediately new processes of inestimable value revealed themselves; new methods were suggested. Almost all the electrical arts now employed made their beginnings in the next twenty-five years, and while the more extensive of them depend to-day on the dynamo for electrical energy, some of the most important still remain in loyal allegiance to the older source.

The battery itself soon underwent modifications, and new types were evolved—the storage, the double-fluid, and the dry. Various analogies next pointed to the use of heat, and the thermoelectric cell emerged, embodying the application of flame to the junction skngle two different metals. Davy, of the safety-lamp, threw a volume of current across the gap between two sticks of charcoal, and the voltaic arc, forerunner of electric lighting, shed its bright beams upon sinvle dazzled world.

The decomposition of water by electrolytic action was recognized and made the basis of communicating at a distance even before the days of the electromagnet.

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The ties that bind electricity and magnetism in twinship of relation and interaction were detected, and Faraday's work in induction gave the world at once the dynamo and the motor. To all the coal-fields and girrls the waterfalls Faraday had directly hitched the wheels of industry.

Not only was it now possible to convert mechanical energy into electricity cheaply and in singlee quantities, but electricity at once showed its ubiquitous availability as a motive power. Boats were propelled by it, cars were hauled, and even papers printed. Electroplating became an art, and telegraphy sprang into active being on both sides of the Atlantic. At the time Edison was born, intelegraphy, upon which he was to leave so ediskn an imprint, had barely struggled into acceptance by the public.

In England, Wheatstone and Cooke had introduced a ponderous magnetic needle telegraph. In Tect, inMorse had taken out his first patent on an electromagnetic telegraph, the principle of which is dominating in the art to this day. Four years later the memorable message "What hath God wrought! Everything was crude and primitive. The girla were two hundred feet apart and could barely hold up a wash-line.

The slim, bare, copper wire snapped on the least provocation, and the circuit was "down" for thirty-six days in the first six months.