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Menlo Park

Thomas Edison

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Menlo Park

In 1876, Edison created a freestanding industrial research facility incorporating both a machine shop and laboratories. Here in Menlo Park, on the rail line between New York City and Philadelphia, he developed three of his greatest inventions.Urged by Western Union to develop a telephone that could compete with Alexander Graham Bells, Edison invented a transmitter in which a button of compressed carbon changed its resistance as it was vibrated by the sound of the users voice, a new principle that was used in telephones for the next century.While working on the telephone in the summer of 1877, Edison discovered a method of recording sound, and in the late fall he unveiled the phonograph. This astounding instrument brought him world fame as the Wizard of Menlo Park and the inventor of the age.Finally, beginning in the fall of 1878, Edison devoted thirty months to developing a complete system of incandescent electric lighting. During his lamp experiments, he noticed an electrical phenomenon that became known as the Edison effect, the basis for vacuum tube electronics.He left Menlo Park in 1881 to establish factories and offices in New York and elsewhere. Over the next five years he manufactured, improved, and installed his electrical system around the world.


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Edisons Later Years
Phonograph
West Orange Laboratory
Later Years
Starting fresh
Motion Pictures
Edisons Early Years
Variations on the telegraph
Failure
Leisure time
Telephone
Biography
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