On June 11, last, Mr. Edison, from his winter home in Fort Myers, Via., sent this optimistic message to the convention of the National Electric Light Association, assembled in Atlantic City, N. J.  He said: 

"I appreciate your greetings.

"My message to you is: Be courageous. 1 have lived a long time. I have seen history repeat itself again and again. I have seen many depressions in business.   Always, America has come out stronger and more prosperous.   Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith. Go forward."

THE NEBRASKA BLUE PRINT                November, 1931

An Appreciation


This is not a biographical sketch of Edison. It is not a summary of his life, nor a description of his work. You may have those from the public press of the day, and in all current issues of the technical magazines. I cannot do as well as they, nor have I the heart to attempt so large a task.  Rather, would I say a few simple words of appreciation such as might come from anyone, anywhere in the world, upon the passing of a man whose life has touched the whole wide world.

His beginnings were humble. His life remained so. Nothing of pomp and circumstance contributed to his greatness. He was a servant of mankind.
He pursued not fame or fortune. He labored in order that he might satisfy his appetite for achievement.

He sought no honors. He courted seclusion.

He aspired not to quiet and rest. He strove with unique disregard of physical limitations.

But, ideas, which his imagination conceived,—he clothed in substance, and we see, we hear. we speak in ways undreamed of by our forefathers. Earth is a brighter, cleaner, happier place to live, because Edison worked.  His labors did not simply revolutionize.—they created!

Before Edison, there was no practical electric light. No sound recorder and reproducer existed.   The moving picture had only been dreamed of. Distribu-tion of electrical energy had not been attempted. Multiplex telegraphy lay dormant in the seed. There was no sensitive carbon-contact telephone transmitter.

No man outranks him in number of patents, breadth of range of invention, fundamental importance of developments.   No man's name is better known, throughout the world,—known because of the far-reaching utility of his products.

Edison was often called the Wizard of Menlo Park. He was provoked to anger by the title, for it implied a type of ability which was foreign to his mentality and his methods. Nothing was more coldly logical than the processes of his thoughts, nothing more laboriously complete than the series of his experiments. As we read the titles of his hundreds of patents, we are impressed by not only the breadth of the direct contact with industry and development, but we discern enormous implications of influence and profit to related fields.  His dynamos and lamps demanded high-grade copper,--and changed the processes of its manufacture.   The need of rapid photography in the moving-picture camera exerted a great influence upon the manufacture of photographic plates, toward the production of the highly sensitized film. The mimeograph was born of his need for rapid multigraphing of written materials. These are but simple instances.—a few examples from the hundreds of cases. As he casually remarked to one of his associates some 20 years ago, while in a reminiscent mood, "Say, I have been mixed up in a whole lot of things, haven't I?"

Edison's life was one of the most productive lives ever lived on this whole globe.   A perusal of his biography gives the reader a feeling of admiration and awe.   Yet, there is something so direct and practical about it all, that one is encouraged and inspired by it, rather than discouraged and over-awed. The account leaves us with a feeling that we have viewed a man among men,—but, for all that,— a man,—not a superbeing. We can understand his processes of thinking and working. We can explain his results. We can see that some other man could have done the same things.

We can see that co-workers in lighting might have developed a practical lamp bulb. Experimenters with the telephone might have progressed from the magnetic telephone transmitter to the variable-resistance instrument. Photographers might have conceived of pictures of rapidly successive positions of the trotting horse, coupled with rapid substitution of one for the other upon a "moving-picture" screen.  Cement manufacturers might have built long kilns of 1,000 barrel capacity. Some other men might have done these things.

But no one ever did!