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Thomas Edison's lengthy to-do list called for phonographic clocks and ink for the blind

Illustration for article titled Thomas Edisons lengthy to-do list called for phonographic clocks and ink for the blind

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.

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Edison was a prolific note-taker and list-maker, filling notebooks upon notebooks with his thoughts and ideas. The Thomas Edison Papers is currently in the process of digitizing Edison's writings, among them this 1888 list, "Things doing and things to be done." From lists like this, it's easy to see how Edison ended up holding more than 1,000 patents; he was constantly making lists of possible products and innovations. Some items from this particular list (transcribed by Brain Pickings):

Cotton picker
New standard phonograph
Hand turning phonograph
Deaf apparatus
Electrical piano
New expansion pyromagnetic dynamo
Artificial silk
Phonographic clock
Marine telegraphy
Chalk battery
Ink for blind

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Top image from Wikimedia Commons.

Things doing and things to be done [The Thomas Edison Papers via Brain Pickings]

Illustration for article titled Thomas Edisons lengthy to-do list called for phonographic clocks and ink for the blind
Illustration for article titled Thomas Edisons lengthy to-do list called for phonographic clocks and ink for the blind
Illustration for article titled Thomas Edisons lengthy to-do list called for phonographic clocks and ink for the blind
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DISCUSSION

ZombieJaneway
ZombieJaneway

Edison was a CEO, not an inventor (this has been said before and it's very true). I'm an astrophysics grad student right now and one of my professors in engineering spends a good amount of time at least once a week trashing Edison. He hired people to do the work for him and he took the credit for it. I won't even go into what he did to Tesla - an inventor who to this day is someone who was and is way ahead of us. Helps that I was introduced to Tesla at a very young age as he was a national hero in my former homeland so I was well aware of Edison's douchebaggery. These lists mean nothing to me. Everyone can make a list. It's the people who did the work for him (Tesla being one of them for a brief amount of time, before he moved on to kick ass with AC) that should be praised. Without them, these lists wouldn't even exist. #ihavealotofemotions