As a member of Team Tesla anytime I see an article flattering T.A. Edison my hackles start to rise. He may be eminently quotable but he is also one of those people who “won” history and therefore got to write his own record of events.
A recent Daily Post article has discussed how we can learn from Edison especially in his role as the inventor of the phonograph, a commercially viable lightbulb, and the motion picture camera. It was apparently all trial and error, which would be great if these claims were true.
Instead Edison was not:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Instead he was more:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found ways to steal or bully my best ideas from other people.”
The truth is that Edison was not someone who gave up, he was someone who imitated and claimed others work as his own.
Did he invent the phonograph, well yes and no. He was responsible for the first version that was able to record and then play back sound so I will give him this. This was one of his first inventions so maybe shows that sometimes you have one great idea in you and you need to try to find it.
The lightbulb? Nope, he lied to the widow of the original patent owner to get the rights to make them. Heinrich Goebel tried selling the patent to Edison who could not see its value but when Goebel’s died Edison offered his impoverished widow a much lower amount for the patents than they were worth.
Edison also was not the first to patent a working light bulb, but went into partnership with the man who did. In the end he bought his partner our leaving him to claim full credit for the invention.
He helped to create Hollywood but only after threatening all other movie studios with his mafia-like behaviour when they wouldn’t pay the high fees for using the camera one of his employees invented.
He stole all his ‘best’ inventions, and when someone came up with a better idea he would use all his money and fame to try to destroy them. He electrocuted a (poisoned) elephant to prove that Nikola Telsa’s (now there’s an inventor) AC current was dangerous.
Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.
Based on Edison, Genius is one percent inspiration, one percent perspiration and ninety eight percent convincing others that you are a genius. Don’t keep trying to create in the hope that you strike it lucky, see what others are working on and claim it as your own.
If you do want to look for inspiration, for someone who did fail numerous times but wouldn’t give up, then you could do a lot worse than Nikola Tesla.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Imitation/Flattery.”