Get in Touch

Bright Sparks – Thomas Edison

The modern world would look very different without the contributions of those who helped us harness electricity and develop electrical equipment. Here, we focus on some of the pioneers of the electrical world and their remarkable achievements.

NAME: Thomas Alva Edison

DATES: 11 February 1847 (Ohio, US) – 18 October 1931 (New Jersey, US)

EARLY LIFE: Following a stint as a newspaper boy on the Grand Trunk Railroad, Edison spent five years as
a telegraph operator then opened a manufacturing shop making stock tickers (his own invention) and telegraph instruments.

The sale of his quadruplex telegraph invention allowed him to establish his ground-breaking industrial research laboratory Menlo Park in 1876.

FIRST INVENTION: Electrical Vote Recorder.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS:

1800s

1877 invented the phonograph (precursor of the gramophone) and patented the Carbon Telephone Transmitter, also used in radio broadcasting.

1878-9 set up Edison Electric
Light Company and developed the incandescent electric light bulb, plus fuses, sockets, switches and other electrical ancillary products.

1880 invented the magnetic ore separator and founded the Edison Illuminating Company for the distribution of electricity.

1 882 opened the first commercial incandescent lighting and power station in London.

1885 patented wireless induction telegraphy systems for trains to communicate with stations and ships to communicate with shore bases.

1891 exhibited the kinetograph motion picture camera and kinetoscope viewer (his film studio made over 1,000 films).

1896 created the fluoroscope for viewing X-rays; applied for a patent on the first fluorescent lamp.

1900s

1900-1910 developed the nickel-iron- alkaline storage battery.

1901 construction of the Edison Cement Plant began.

1907 developed the universal electric motor.

1913 developed the kinetophone (talking movie).

1 914 patented the electric safety lantern, used widely by miners.

1914-1919 worked out how to manufacture synthetic carbolic acid and built several coal-tar plants – both important in the war effort.

1928 awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

3 things you might not know:

1. In 1862, Edison saved a young boy from being hit by a train. As a thank you, the boy’s father taught him telegraphy, which furthered his burgeoning interest in electricity.

2. Edison was mostly home schooled by his mother.

3. Edison was very hard of hearing and proposed to his second wife by tapping out Morse Code on her palm.

Legacy

Having invented or helped develop devices from the phonograph and motion picture camera to the electric light bulb, Edison’s place in the history of electricity is assured.

Working with large teams and harnessing the benefits of mass production, he had a major impact on many industries – benefiting the lives of ordinary people.

image description

5 most common electrical problems in factories

Manufacturers rely heavily on electricity, often grinding to a halt if  electrical problems occurs. What’s more, serious electrical faults can trigger a fire or explosion, leading to injuries or, much worse, fatalities. As a plant or production manager, you don’t need to understand how to fix your factory’s electrical faults yourself – that’s our job. […]

Read more
image description

Voltage optimisation explained

Recent increases in energy costs mean power consumption has become one of the biggest concerns for companies in the manufacturing sector. Streamlining the production process to remove unnecessary and costly consumption points is a good exercise. But one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage energy consumption and reduce costs is voltage optimisation. […]

Read more
image description

Key factors when planning a factory extension

Customer demand can peak and trough, but if demand for your products is constantly rising, it could be time to expand. However, upsizing a factory is not straightforward. There are multiple components to think about before you begin to extend, and you might even find that relocation is a more viable option (although this is […]

Read more
image description

How control & automation can protect your staff and put you in control

While many modern machines are created with automation in mind, countless factories still run on old, inefficient technology. But without efficient equipment, systems and processes, your costs become unpredictable. If you’re still using outdated technology in your manufacturing plant, you’re likely paying over the odds for staffing, machinery and utilities. And old equipment isn’t just […]

Read more
image description

Will modern equipment reduce commercial energy costs

As a sector, manufacturing is responsible for using millions of megawatts of energy daily, long since a concern for anyone managing production and even more so in a period when commercial energy costs are heading upwards. With energy prices rising at an unprecedented rate, it has never been more critical to consider ways to streamline […]

Read more
image description

What are the DSEAR regulations surrounding hazardous areas?

There are many hazards in the workplace, particularly within the manufacturing sector. Consequently, a fundamental for any manufacturing business is workplace safety. Indeed, with the number of opportunities for accidents at their greatest in this type of environment – thanks to the machinery and materials used – it’s imperative you have robust procedures to protect […]

Read more