Edison and the Rise of Innovation

Edison and the Rise of Innovation

4.2 5
by Leonard DeGraaf
     
 

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Edison presents, in intimate detail, the man who helped engineer the modern world. One of history's most prolific inventors, and perhaps America's first celebrity, Thomas Alva Edison did more than bring incandescent light into every household and industry; he created a world-renowned brand, raised capital to support research and business, and pursued patents…  See more details below

Overview

Edison presents, in intimate detail, the man who helped engineer the modern world. One of history's most prolific inventors, and perhaps America's first celebrity, Thomas Alva Edison did more than bring incandescent light into every household and industry; he created a world-renowned brand, raised capital to support research and business, and pursued patents for his 1,000+ inventions. Leonard DeGraaf, archivist for the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, chronicles Edison's life and work, making lively and lavish use of never-before-published primary sources, including Edison's personal and business correspondence, lab notebooks, drawings, and advertising material, along with both historic and modern photographs.
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 11/11/2013
Thomas Edison is a household name that many connect with the electric light bulb, but few know the extent of his contributions to science and engineering. Archivist and historian DeGraaf surveys Edison's life of innovation in this enthralling pictorial biography that will awaken any reader's creative urge. From Edison's first patented invention, a vote recorder, to his exhaustive examination of storage batteries, and his keen interest in a domestic rubber source, which inspired him to learn plant biology and collect plants around the U.S., Edison was imaginative and canny. Edison's can-do, sky's the limit attitude led him to build a chemical plant to obtain carbolic acid rather than accept a chemical company's three month lag time. It took Edison and his team only 19 days to develop a method for producing the desired chemicals and build a fully functioning production plant from the ground up. Filled with photographs of Edison at work along with images of the many detailed notebooks kept in a communal method by Edison and his staff, DeGraaf captures the dynamic processes behind each achievement in a long and impressive career. The result is not only a tribute to history's greatest innovator but a guide for today's entrepreneurs. (Nov.)
Library Journal
10/15/2013
Drawing on the collections that he oversees as an archivist of the Thomas Edison National Historical Site, DeGraaf provides an amply illustrated biographical portrait of its namesake. The corporate records, scientific notebooks, and personal correspondence relating to Edison and his endeavors provide detail in a narrative that demythologizes Edison by including failed ventures such as his Portland cement works along with his well-known triumphs. Rather than simply presenting his subject as an inventive genius, DeGraaf reveals Edison as a shrewd manager of personnel, as well as of fiscal and material assets—including developing himself as a celebrity brand. By hiring skilled craftsmen, creating multiple business entities to manage and capitalize on his patents, and reinvesting profits from successful inventions to finance new products, Edison constructed some of the first large-scale, well-stocked independent research and development laboratories intended to address a variety of technological concerns. Arranged roughly chronologically, these chapters detail Edison's major research projects. Smaller sidebars give details of minor projects, his home life, and other tangents. VERDICT A worthy and visually pleasing mid-length biography recommended for those who prefer Edison the businessman and social phenomenon to the scientist. With a foreword by Bill Gates.—Wade M. Lee, Univ. of Toledo Lib.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402767364
Publisher:
Sterling Signature
Publication date:
10/01/2013
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
483,981
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Leonard DeGraaf is an archivist at Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Before joining the National Park Service in 1991, he was on the staff of the Thomas A. Edison Papers. DeGraaf is the author of Historic Photos of Thomas Edison (Turner Publishing, 2008), and his articles have appeared in the New York Daily News, Seaport magazine, and Business History Review, among other publications. He received an MA in history from Rutgers University.
 
This book was produced in collaboration with the Edison Innovation Foundation, the Charles Edison Fund, and Thomas Edison National Historical Park. The Edison Innovation Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the Edison legacy and encourages students to embrace careers in science, technology, and engineering. A partner of the National Park Service, the Foundation raises funds to support Thomas Edison National Historical Park. The Charles Edison Fund, based in Newark, NJ, is an endowed philanthropic institution dedicated to the support of medical research, science education, and historic preservation.
 

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