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 sort 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 »
Thomas A. Edison:
[after the latest attempt to find a filament that will work in the electric light]
Well, we failed again. That's the net result of nine thousand experiments.
Too bad, Tom. We know the work you have done. We are as sorry as you are that you didn't get results.
Thomas A. Edison:
Results? Man, I got a lot of results. I know nine thousand things now that won't work.
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The opening credits appear as 19th Century sampler embroideries. See more »
Viewed this film a long time ago and enjoyed seeing the great acting performance that Spencer Tracy portrayed as Thomas A. Edison. Tracy must have put a great deal of study into Mr. Edison's life and his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J. because he looked just like him. Tom Edison had a very rough times being without money and struggling many long hours with very disappointing results. Gene Lockhart,(Mr.Taggart) had a great deal of stock in the gas companies and was trying to stop Edison from producing the electric light. However, Charles Coburn,(General Powell) had great confidence in Tom Edison's inventions and he gave a great deal of financial support among the stock brokers in New York. This is a very nice story of a great inventor and many generations will enjoy this story.
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