Thomas Edison holding an incandescent lightbulb around 1911

Electricity to cure all ills of world, predicts Thomas Edison

The future uses of electricity that will benefit humanity most will be through its medical application.

A new source of electrical supply will be direct from coal without need of steam boilers.

These are predictions of Thomas A. Edison, whose inventive genius is responsible for the widespread application of electricity.

“Electricity has been the principal factor in the enormous progress of civilization in the last 35 years,” Edison said. “But greater and more wonderful uses of it are held by the future. It must be possible to generate electricity direct from coal,” he said.

“When that is accomplished, we will record a new epoch. It may come tomorrow. We are working on it now. Considerable is being done to reveal the medical functions of electricity,” he continued, “but its possibilities in this direction are practically unknown. ”

“This research work must be done secretly, as the thousands of quacks now applying electricity to humans for all sorts of ills seize on every advance announcement from scientists to advertise their claims. Till we know more about our bodies, it will be difficult to tell what can be done with electricity as a medical aid.”

“I once asked Du Bois Reymond, psychologist, what makes my finger move. It isn’t heat, light, electricity, magnetism. What is it? Reymond had studied it 30 years, but he wouldn’t answer me.”

Continued below: How much sleep Thomas Edison gets, how he reads so quickly

Thomas Edison in 1915

Thomas Edison’s sleep schedule, reading habits, work patterns

Edison now sleeps about five and a half hours a night. For years, he only slept four. Mrs Edison, he explained, doesn’t permit him to work all night anymore. His daily diet does not exceed a pound and a half of food. He smokes cigars and chews tobacco, but bans cigarettes.

He reads regularly 118 scientific and trade periodicals and five daily newspapers, and keeps in intimate touch with every form of human activity, including baseball, golf and the stage. “I read four lines at once,” he said. “They should teach that kind of reading in the public schools.”

Two of Edison’s closest friends are Henry Ford, automaker, and John Burroughs, naturalist. “Ford’s profit-sharing plan holds a fine principle, if you have the money to carry it out,” he commented. “I believe his plan will have no bad effect on the industrial situation.”

Tesla: What’s the future of electricity? (1912)

Photo of Thomas Edison with an incandescent lightbulb by Nathan Lazarnick, c1911


About this story

Source publication: The Day Book (Chicago, Ill.)

Source publication date: May 25, 1914

Filed under: 1910s, Celebrities & famous people, Discoveries & inventions

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