Thomas Edison Turns on America's Lights by Willard Sterne Randall, Nancy Nahra
In 1876, twenty-nine-year-old Thomas Edison had just opened the nation’s first research laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey, promising to produce “a minor invention every ten days and a big thing every six months or so.” He kept that promise. In the next decade alone, he invented the phonograph, the incandescent light, the Dictaphone, the mimeograph machine, the electric power-plant dynamo, motion pictures, and electric transmitters. In the following six years, he founded the Edison General Electric Company to mass-produce light bulbs that eventually lit up 70 percent of all American homes and virtually all the nation’s businesses. By century’s end, 3,000 Edison power plants were illuminating the United States. Here, in this Snap, is the story of the man who invented modern America.
After a successful career as an investigative journalist, Willard Sterne Randall pursued advanced studies in history at Princeton University. Biographer of Benjamin and William Franklin, of Benedict Arnold, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Ethan Allen, he has taught American history at John Cabot University in Rome and at the University of Vermont and Champlain College, where he was Distinguished Scholar in History and a Professor. Nancy Nahra, award-winning poet, has published numerous articles in scholarly journals in history and the humanities both in the United States and England. With Willard Sterne Randall she has co- authored of four volumes of history and biography. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Colby College in Maine, she holds an M.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from Princeton. She has studied and been a tutor at the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris. She has taught literature and language courses in French and in English literature, as well as Latin classics in translation at the University of Vermont and later at John Cabot University in Rome, where she holds a permanent appointment as Visiting Professor of Humanities after being Poet in Residence there. Most recently at Champlain College in Vermont, she was Professor of Humanities and also served as Coordinator for Humanities.