Christmas lights are a uniquely American tradition. That’s not just because the first electric Christmas lights appeared in America. The tradition embodies a certain American-ness, an ingenuity and hunger for innovation, that’s easily overlooked. America doesn’t just make things. America makes things spectacular.
Today tech companies are infamous for asking silly questions at job interviews. How would I move Mount Fuji? If I knew that I probably wouldn't be sitting here for this job interview, would I, Microsoft?
J.J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot is secretly working away on a Thomas Edison biopic. But will it show him electrocuting an elephant?
Thomas Edison had some brilliant ideas. He also had some truly awful ones. One example: this rather eldritch-looking talking doll, the voice of which Leonard DeGraaf, an archivist at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, says was "just ghastly." Visit Smithsonian for six more examples of the most "epic" Edison…
In 1890, Arthur Kennelly, an electrical engineer working for Thomas Edison, wrote a letter to the director of the Lick Observatory. He described an interesting experiment being undertaken by the great inventor that may have been the first radio telescope — forty years before its official invention.
When does procuring ingredients for basic medicine make for a scandalous plot? When it can also be turned into an explosive. The Great Phenol plot is one of the biggest conspiracies that no one remembers.
Epic Rap Battles of History has finally gotten around to the most important scientific feud of all time. I was afraid Edison's savvy business sense and promotional skills would lead him to having the doper rhymes, but I feel like Tesla really pulled it out at the end. Oh, if only the real Tesla had been so lucky!
What happens when the father of American literature and the pioneer of American cinematography meet up for a little video shoot? Silent movie magic, that's what, starring the one and only Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) as himself.
In 1901, Thomas Edison developed the recharcheable nickel-iron battery, a technology he hoped to see implemented in electric cars. But a slow rate of energy output and slower charging time saw it superseded by lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries in standard and electric cars alike.
Thomas Edison may not be everyone's favorite inventor, but it's hard to argue that he wasn't always working, trying to figure out what the next engineering innovations would be. These excerpts from a 1888 to-do list offer some insight into Edison's ideas for the next big thing.
Here's some more fodder for your retro feline obsession. One of the earliest short films ever recorded was a boxing match between cats shot in July 1894 by Thomas Edison and his motion picture technicians. And according to a synopsis of this narrative tour de force, boxing was the least of the cats' worries:
Nikola Tesla was a brilliant (if sometimes misunderstood) scientist, tinkerer and genius. Thomas Edison was kind of an exploitative creep. You may already know these things, but The Oatmeal's Matt Inman really drives both points home in his latest webcomic, and does so with the twisted mix of hilarious visual aid and…
Some companies are known for their legendary job interview questions — brain teasers, trivia questions, moral thought problems. In the 1920s, Thomas Edison was himself famous for the interview exams he administered to eager job applicants. But could you have passed Edison's test?
This is absolutely amazing. Audio archeologists have uncovered a wax cylinder phonograph record that bears a lost vocal recording of Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck.
In 1896, the famed inventor, futurist, and elephant electrocution archivist made history yet again by recording the first kiss in cinema history. This clip, which featured a mustachioed fellow leering over Canadian actress Mae Irwin, was considered scandalous at the time, but Edison was no stranger to courting…
100 years ago, a newspaper published Thomas Edison's musings on the far-off future of 2011. According to the famed inventor, we should be driving around in solid gold taxis.