Giants once walked the earth, and now their histories are being added to the dustbin
THOMAS EDISON just isn't who he used to be.
In a mid-January article in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Bernie Carlson, a professor of science, technology and society at the University of Virginia, said, "Edison is so 20th century, much like Henry Ford."
This is where people are getting their info mixed up: While Ford is to be lauded as the innovator and essentially the creator of the assembly line, he did not invent the automobile.
Edison's role as industrialist is getting mixed up with his start as an inventor--the quintessential American ideal of the inventor, I might add.
Edison's nickname was the Wizard of Menlo Park, a reference to the New Jersey neighborhood where his workshop was established.
Carlson was quoted in an article about the resurgence in interest in the career and life of inventor Nikola Tesla.
While Tesla won the battle between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC), which Edison had bet heavily on - even as the wires over the streets were cracking and flaming from his DC.
But Tesla was almost forgotten, and Edison was heralded in kids' textbooks from coast to coast.
However, as time marches on, Edison's most well-known inventions, the incandescent lightbulb, the phonograph and the motion-picture camera are all being left by the wayside.
Edison's bulbs are being phased out by fanatical environmentalists; the phonograph is twice removed: replaced by CDs, which were then replaced by Mp3s; and movies no longer use film, it's all digital, even the people.
Gosh, I guess Edison is "so 20th century."
21st century schizoid man
And then there's this:
"I can't imagine writing a song about Edison...too boringly rich, entrepreneurial and successful!" Andy McCluskey, a founder of the UK-based new wave band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, told the WSJ.
But I disagree: The drive and passion he showed made Edison a larger than life figure, a character who would not be out of place in the works of Jules Verne - or Mark Twain.