The Johns Hopkins University Press

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

Edited by Paul B. Israel et al.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Published in cooperation with Rutgers University's Thomas A. Edison Papers project, the fifteen volumes of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison are intended to allow readers from all walks of life to rediscover Edison, his career, his work habits, his creative strategies, and even the processes of invention and innovation he experienced. The transcriptions, explanatory annotations, chapter headnotes, and detailed indexes are designed as much to satisfy the most demanding scholarly inquiries as to offer new opportunities for lifelong learning. Six of the anticipated fifteen volumes have been published. Volume 7 is scheduled for publication in Fall 2015.

Go

Browse Books in Series:

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

1

Results 1-8 of 8

:
restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

Electrifying New York and Abroad, April 1881–March 1883

edited by Paul B. Israel, Louis Carlat, David Hochfelder, Theresa M. Collins, and Brian C. Shipley

With his move from Menlo Park, New Jersey, to New York City at the end of March 1881, Edison shifted his focus from research and development to the commercialization of his electric lighting system. This volume of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison chronicles Edison's central role in the enormous effort to manufacture, market, and install electric lighting systems in the United States and abroad. Standard studies of this period emphasize the inauguration of the commercial electric utility industry at the Pearl Street central station. Edison and his associates, however, audaciously operated on a global scale, not just focusing on the major cities of North America and Europe but reaching simultaneously from Appleton, Wisconsin, to Australia, through the Indian subcontinent and East Asia, to Central and South America. Praise for The Papers of Thomas A. Edison: "A mine of material . . . Scrupulously edited . . . No one could ask for more . . . A choplicking feast for future Edison biographers—well into the next century, and perhaps beyond."—Washington Post “What is most extraordinary about the collection isn't necessarily what it reveals about Edison's inventions . . . It's the insight into the process.”—Associated Press "Those interested in America's technological culture can eagerly look forward to the appearance of each volume of the Edison Papers."—Technology and Culture "His lucidity comes through everywhere . . . His writing and drawing come together as a single, vigorous thought process."—New York Times "A triumph of the bookmaker's art, with splendidly arranged illustrations, essential background information, and cautionary reminders of the common sources on which Edison's imagination drew."—New York Review of Books "In the pages of this volume Edison the man, his work, and his times come alive . . . A delight to browse through or to read carefully."—Science "Beyond its status as the resource for Edison studies, providing a near inexhaustible supply of scholarly fodder, this series . . . will surely become a model for such projects in the future . . . The sheer diversity of material offered here refreshingly transcends any exclusive restriction to Edisonia."—British Journal for the History of Science

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

From Workshop to Laboratory, June 1873-March 1876

edited by Robert A. Roseberg, Paul B. Israel, Keith A. Nier, and Melodie Andrews

The second volume of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison, which covers the inventor's life from the end of June 1873 to the end of March 1876, reveals a remarkable diversity of activities and interests. During his late twenties Thomas Edison pursued his pathbreaking work in telegraph technology, formed a business alliance with the notorious financier Jay Gould, and became embroiled in a bitter legal battle over commercial rights to his quadruplex telegraph.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

Losses and Loyalties, April 1883–December 1884

edited by Paul B. Israel, Louis Carlat, Theresa M. Collins, and David Hochfelder

Seeking to replicate the success of his New York electric central station throughout the United States and in Europe and Latin America, Thomas A. Edison vowed to become a "business man for a year." This bold decision began a remarkable transition period for America's greatest inventive thinker. The seventh volume of Edison's papers chronicles the profound changes in his professional and personal life, including the unexpected death of his wife. It concludes with Edison returning to the laboratory to develop new communications technology.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

Menlo Park: The Early Years, April 1876-December 1877

edited by Robert A. Rosenberg, Paul B. Israel, Keith A. Nier, and Melodie Andrews

The third volume of this widely acclaimed series reveals the breath-taking intensity, intellectual acumen, and vast self-confidence of twenty-nine-year-old Thomas Edison. In the depths of the 1870s depression, he moved his independent research and development laboratory from industrial Newark to pastoral Menlo Park, some fifteen miles to the south on the main line of the railroad from New York to Philadelphia. There, equipped with resources for experimental development that were extraordinary for their time, Edison and a few close associates began twenty months of research that expanded their well-established accomplishments in telegraphy into pioneering work on the telephone. Edison's ideas and techniques from telegraph message recording and the telephone next led to his invention of the phonograph, the first patent for which was filed in December 1877. This invention ultimately gave Edison a world-wide reputation—and the nickname "the wizard of Menlo Park."

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

New Beginnings, January 1885–December 1887

Edited by Paul B. Israel, Louis Carlat, Theresa M. Collins, Alexandra R. Rimer, and Daniel J. Weeks

Two decades after the American Civil War, no name was more closely associated with the nation’s inventive and entrepreneurial spirit than that of Thomas Edison. The restless changes of those years were reflected in the life of America’s foremost inventor. Having cemented his reputation with his electric lighting system, Edison had decided to withdraw partially from that field. At the start of 1885, newly widowed at mid-life with three young children, he launched into a series of personal and professional migrations, setting in motion chains of events that would influence his work and fundamentally reshape his life. Edison’s inventive activities took off in new directions, flowing between practical projects (such as wireless and high-capacity telegraph systems) and futuristic ones (exploring forms of electromagnetic energy and the convertibility of one to another). Inside of two years, he would travel widely, marry the daughter of a prominent industrialist and religious educator, leave New York City for a grand home in a sylvan suburb, and construct a winter laboratory and second home in Florida. Edison’s family and interior life are remarkably visible at this moment; his papers include the only known diary in which he recorded personal thoughts and events. By 1887, the familiar rhythms of his life began to reassert themselves in his new settings; the family faded from view as he planned, built, and occupied a New Jersey laboratory complex befitting his status. The eighth volume of the series, New Beginnings includes 358 documents (chosen from among thousands) as the most revealing and representative of Edison’s work, life, and place in American culture in these years. Illustrated with hundreds of Edison’s drawings, these documents are further illuminated by meticulous research among a wide range of sources, including the most recently digitized newspapers and journals of the day.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

Research to Development at Menlo Park, January 1879-March 1881

Thomas A. Edison edited by Paul B. Israel, Louis Carlat, David Hochfelder, and Keith A. Nier

The fifth volume of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison covers Edison's invention and development of the first commercial incandescent electric light and power system. In the process he turned his famed Menlo Park laboratory into the first true research and development facility. This also enabled him to develop a new telephone for the British market in the midst of his herculean efforts on electric lighting. In the face of daunting technical challenges and skepticism from leading scientists and engineers, Edison and his team of experimenters and machinists found the solution to the decades-old problem of creating a practical incandescent lamp. By focusing on the characteristics of the entire system Edison reconceptualized the requirements of a successful lamp design. While rivals worked primarily on lamps, Edison developed other parts of a complete system as well. This approach was most notable in his revolutionary work on generator technology, one of the highlights of this volume. Successful exhibitions of the system in December 1879 drew crowds to Menlo Park to witness the softly glowing lamps. These spectacles gratified his financial backers but Edison realized the importance of following experimental demonstrations with the hard work of commercial development. He needed to make each component work effectively in daily use and to improve the designs so that they were easy to use and inexpensive to manufacture. To create a daytime market for electricity he also developed electric motors for a variety of uses, including electric railways, for which he built a small demonstration line at Menlo Park. To accomplish all this Edison greatly enlarged his staff to as many as sixty experimenters, machinists, carpenters, and office workers. He began manufacturing lamps at a factory in Menlo Park. At the end of 1880, Edison was ready to move his system into commercial production and made plans to produce other components in New York. He also invited New York officials to a demonstration in order to win their approval for running underground lines in lower Manhattan where he planned to put his first commercial central station. In March 1881, he moved to the Edison Electric Light Company's headquarters on Fifth Avenue and began the hard work of introducing the new electric light and power technology.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

The Making of an Inventor, February 1847-June 1874

Thomas A. Edison edited by Reese V. Jenkins et al.

The Making of an Inventor, volume 1 of the monumental The Papers of Thomas A. Edison, takes us through Edison's life from early childhood to age twenty-six, when his work in telegraphy laid the groundwork for some of his best-known inventions. An 1868 telegraph design by the twenty-one-year-old Edison, for instance, reveals the now-familiar drum and stylus that reappeared in the phonograph of 1877 and in his earliest motion picture design.

The Making of an Inventor contains 90 percent of all known documents relating to Edison's boyhood and early career, including every entry from his Newark lab notebooks. Illustrated with nearly 600 of the inventor's own drawings and sketches, it provides a comprehensive account of the origins of Edison's creative genius.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

The Wizard of Menlo Park, 1878

Thomas A. Edison edited by Paul B. Israel, Keith A. Nier, and Louis Carlat

This newest volume in the acclaimed Papers of Thomas A. Edison covers one year in the life of America's greatest inventor—1878. That year Edison, whom a New York newspaper in the spring first called "the Wizard of Menlo Park," developed the phonograph, one of his most famous inventions; made a breakthrough in the development of telephone transmitters, which made the instrument commercially viable; and announced the advent of domestic electric lighting, with only a few weeks' worth of tinkering necessary to complete its design (the announcement sent gas-company stocks plummeting; the research and development went on for four years). These inventions brought Edison financial support for his work and attention from the public. In January investors in the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company agreed to fund development work on the phonograph. The invention made Edison internationally famous and in May he traveled to Washington, D.C., to show the phonograph at the National Academy of Sciences, to Congress, and to President Rutherford B. Hayes at the White House. That same month Western Union agreed to pay Edison an annual salary of $6,000 for his telephone inventions, although other support from the company declined following the death of its president, William Orton. The stress of unceasing public attention, including a trans-Atlantic dispute over the question of who invented the microphone, led an exhausted Edison to travel west during the summer to witness a solar eclipse but also to seek rest. His six-week trip took him to San Francisco and the Yosemite region of California. Edison began working on electric lighting after his return and in October the Edison Electric Light Company was formed to support his research.

1

Results 1-8 of 8

:

Return to Browse All Series on Project MUSE

Series

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison

Content Type

  • (8)

Access

  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access