Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christmas List 2011 - A Lifetime Supply of Edison Light Bulbs

Santa Dear, did you know that as of January 1, 2012, the manufacture of the incandescent bulb will be banned in the United States?  It’s all the work of the green environmentalists and investment scammers who’ve put their money into producing fluorescent light bulbs.

They do save electricity, Santa, but not money.  They’re very expensive for ordinary people to buy, and they don’t last any longer than the regular light bulbs.  Billy bought me some one Christmas and I didn’t mind.  But the thing burned out within six months.  I’ve had regular light bulbs that last longer.

These bulbs are also a biohazard.  They’re filled with mercury.  If you break one, you have to call in a contractor that specializes in cleaning up hazardous materials.  That’s more money.  No doubt, in the future, people will also be charged a fine for breaking them, especially in a condo unit like mine or an apartment.

Finally, if people really want to save money on electricity (save the planet – give me a break), then they should shut off the lights they’re not using.  Turn down the heat to 68 degrees.  I find 72 degrees far too hot.  Even 70 degrees is too much.  Turning of a light or an appliance I’m not using is a lot cheaper and easier than buying an expensive, hazardous flim-flam bulb.

I don’t know what genius thought up the idea of using fluorescent bulbs in the home, but whoever it was, they were no Thomas Alva Edison.  He developed so many devices that changed the world:  the phonograph, the motion picture camera, the stock ticker, a batter for an electric car, and of course the lightbulb.  The original cars were electric, you know, not gas.  They discovered they couldn’t go very far in them; the charge didn’t hold long enough for long trips.  In those days, people didn’t need to go very far.  Of course, you have reindeer power.  A wagon of hay and you’re all set.

Edison was the fourth most prolific inventor in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.   His early careers as a telegraph operator led to his inventiveness.  He became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. Jimmie's father, station agent J.U. MacKenzie was so grateful that he trained Edison as a telegraph operator.  Edison originated the concept and implementation of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Manhattan Island in New York City.

In school, the young Edison's mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle often called him “addled”.  This ended Edison's three months of official schooling. Edison recalled later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”   His mother home-schooled him. Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union.

He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, and he sold vegetables to supplement his income. He also studied qualitative analysis, and conducted chemical experiments on the train until an accident caused the prohibition of further work of the kind. He obtained the exclusive right of selling newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which he sold with his other papers. This began Edison's long streak of entrepreneurial ventures as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still in existence as one of the largest publicly-traded in the world.

Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections. Around the middle of his career, Edison attributed the hearing impairment to being struck on the ears by a train conductor when his chemical laboratory in a boxcar caught fire and he was thrown off the train in Smith Creeks, Mich., along with his apparatus and chemicals. In his later years he modified the story to say the injury occurred when the conductor, in helping him onto a moving train, lifted him by the ears.

Edison was active in business right up to the end. Just months before his death in 1931, the Lackawanna Railroad implemented electric trains in suburban service from Hoboken to Gladstone, Montclair, and Dover,  N.J. Transmission was by means of an overhead catenary system, with the entire project under Edison's guidance. To the surprise of many, he was at the throttle of the very first MU (Multiple-Unit) train to depart Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, driving the train all the way to Dover.

You wouldn’t want Rudolph to have a fluorescent nose, Santa, with all that poisonous mercury, would you?  I didn’t think so.  So please, Santa, fill our stockings with incandescent light bulbs this Christmas.

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