The age of Edison: electric light and the invention of modern America

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The late nineteenth century was a period of explosive technological creativity, but arguably the most important invention of all was Thomas Edison’s incandescent lightbulb. Unveiled in his Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory in 1879, the lightbulb overwhelmed the American public with the sense of the birth of a new age. More than any other invention, the electric light marked the arrival of modernity. The lightbulb became a catalyst for the nation’s transformation from a rural to an urban-dominated culture. City streetlights defined zones between rich and poor, and the electrical grid sharpened the line between town and country. “Bright lights” meant “big city.” Like moths to a flame, millions of Americans migrated to urban centers in these decades, leaving behind the shadow of candle and kerosene lamp in favor of the exciting brilliance of the urban streetscape. The Age of Edison places the story of Edison’s invention in the context of a technological revolution that transformed America and Europe in these decades. Edison and his fellow inventors emerged from a culture shaped by broad public education, a lively popular press that took an interest in science and technology, and an American patent system that encouraged innovation and democratized the benefits of invention. And in the end, as Freeberg shows, Edison’s greatest invention was not any single technology, but rather his reinvention of the process itself. At Menlo Park he gathered the combination of capital, scientific training, and engineering skill that would evolve into the modern research and development laboratory. His revolutionary electrical grid not only broke the stronghold of gas companies, but also ushered in an era when strong, clear light could become accessible to everyone. In The Age of Edison, Freeberg weaves a narrative that reaches from Coney Island and Broadway to the tiniest towns of rural America, tracing the progress of electric light through the reactions of everyone who saw it. It is a quintessentially American story of ingenuity, ambition, and possibility, in which the greater forces of progress and change are made visible by one of our most humble and ubiquitous objects.
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9781594204265
9781101605479
9781469086781
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Grouped Work ID 62d3f866-c915-621d-90c4-9ad2fb97de5c
full_title age of edison electric light and the invention of modern america
author freeberg ernest
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-21 04:53:02AM

Solr Details

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author Ernest Freeberg
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author_additional Ernest Freeberg.
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display_description "The late nineteenth century was a period of explosive technological creativity, but arguably the most important invention of all was Thomas Edison's incandescent lightbulb. Unveiled in his Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory in 1879, the lightbulb overwhelmed the American public with the sense of the birth of a new age. More than any other invention, the electric light marked the arrival of modernity. The lightbulb became a catalyst for the nation's transformation from a rural to an urban-dominated culture. City streetlights defined zones between rich and poor, and the electrical grid sharpened the line between town and country. "Bright lights" meant "big city." Like moths to a flame, millions of Americans migrated to urban centers in these decades, leaving behind the shadow of candle and kerosene lamp in favor of the exciting brilliance of the urban streetscape. The Age of Edison places the story of Edison's invention in the context of a technological revolution that transformed America and Europe in these decades. Edison and his fellow inventors emerged from a culture shaped by broad public education, a lively popular press that took an interest in science and technology, and an American patent system that encouraged innovation and democratized the benefits of invention. And in the end, as Freeberg shows, Edison's greatest invention was not any single technology, but rather his reinvention of the process itself. At Menlo Park he gathered the combination of capital, scientific training, and engineering skill that would evolve into the modern research and development laboratory. His revolutionary electrical grid not only broke the stronghold of gas companies, but also ushered in an era when strong, clear light could become accessible to everyone. In The Age of Edison, Freeberg weaves a narrative that reaches from Coney Island and Broadway to the tiniest towns of rural America, tracing the progress of electric light through the reactions of everyone who saw it. It is a quintessentially American story of ingenuity, ambition, and possibility, in which the greater forces of progress and change are made visible by one of our most humble and ubiquitous objects. "--
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physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (9hr., 30 min.)) : digital., 354 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
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series Penguin history of American life
series2 Penguin history of American life.
series_with_volume Penguin history of American life
subject_facet Edison, Thomas A. -- (Thomas Alva), -- 1847-1931, Edison, Thomas A. -- (Thomas Alva), -- 1847-1931 -- Contemporaries, Electric lighting -- United States -- History, Technological innovations -- Social aspects -- United States -- History, Technological innovations -- United States -- History
table_of_contents Introduction: Inventing Edison -- Inventing electric light -- Civic light -- Creative destruction: Edison and the gas companies -- Work light -- Leisure light -- Inventive nation -- Looking at inventions, inventing new ways of looking -- Inventing a profession -- The light of civilization -- Exuberance and order -- Illumination science -- Rural light -- Electric light's golden jubilee.
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title The age of Edison : electric light and the invention of modern America
title_display The age of Edison : electric light and the invention of modern America
title_full The Age of Edison Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America, The age of Edison : electric light and the invention of modern America / Ernest Freeberg, The age of Edison [electronic resource] : electric light and the invention of modern America / Ernest Freeberg
title_short The age of Edison :
title_sort age of edison electric light and the invention of modern america
title_sub electric light and the invention of modern America
topic History, Nonfiction
topic_facet History, Nonfiction