Thursday, January 26, 2006

Not too Bright

So Friday is the 126th anniversary of the day that Edison patented the electric light bulb. True, prototype light bulbs had been kicked around for 50 years, but that just meant some poor soul had to sweep up broken glass in the dark. To this day Edison is remembered as a great American inventor as he was so good at “inventing” the ideas of others, and tweaking them just enough that he could say they were his. This talent could be the reason behind the rumor that some rich guy in Seattle is Edison’s illegitimate grandson. While trying to decide what would work as the best filament in a bulb, Edison went through over 6,000 vegetable growths, although he never got to try some scraping from the shower floor of that one apartment on DP in IV. This testing was brutal on Edison’s poor lab workers for over thirty weeks, but part of the delay was that they insisted on testing one vegetable growth—cannabis sativa—daily for fifteen weeks at 4:20 pm, which more or less wasted them when the filament went up in smoke. (They also originated the phrase “don’t bogart that light bulb” nearly two decades before the man famous as Sam Spade and Rick Blaine was even born.) It is telling that the world’s first White Castle Burgers was built not far from Edison’s labs in West Orange, NJ (not to be confused with the West Orange labs in Edison, NJ). Recently studies have revealed that the struggle to invent the light bulb was so onerous largely because a light bulb couldn’t go off over anyone’s head after he or she came up with the brilliant idea.


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