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Hoored at a banquet for his sixty year career as an inventor, scientist, and businessman, 89 year old Thomas Alva Edison reflects back on his long career, which includes such achievements as the stock market ticker, the phonograph, the light bulb, and the motion picture. Written by
In the film, Edison and his wife communicate with each other by tapping out Morse code. In the movie this is presented as a charming endearment, but in fact Edison was so deaf the only way he and his wife could talk was by tapping Morse code on each other's hands. See more »
The montage sequence depicting Edison's inventions lists "electric power transmission" over a shot of a massive transmission line and the tower that holds it up. That technology was actually developed not by Edison but by Nikola Tesla. (Tesla held over 700 patents, including Radio. Marconi stole the radio patent from Tesla. The US Patent office has since revoked Marconi's claim, giving it to Tesla.) Edison insisted on powering his lights with direct current, which could only travel short distances from the generators that produced it. Tesla used alternating current, which could be run through transformers to increase its voltage so it could be moved over long distances, then reduced in voltage again for home use. Tesla's alternating current, not Edison's direct current, quickly became the standard and is what we use today. See more »
An entertaining, but flawed bio of Thomas Alva Edison
Motion Picture biographical representations of famous people usually remove the warts in their life history. It was not until February of 2003 did I learn that using carbon filaments, was the brainchild of African-American inventor Lewis Latimer and his partner, Joseph V. Nichols. The movie focuses around Edison's discovery of the carbon filament which lights the world, when actually Edison's filaments were made from bamboo and only lasted 30 hours.
The story as told is very pleasant and the performances of Spencer Tracey, Gene Lockhart and Charles Coburn hold the viewers interest. With the warts, this is still an inspiring motion picture. I think seeing Mickey Rooney as YOUNG TOM EDISON should be viewed first.
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